Friday 31 August 2012

Two Window Cleaning Stories


Sarah loved her children visiting from university for the weekend, even though white towels became bruised with smudges of mascara, jars and bottles repelled their lids, bins spat out litter and tables were tattooed with coffee rings.
After a clear-up that took all morning, Sarah sank back into her couch, balancing her tea and biscuits, and admired the order she’d re-established. Until a tap at the front door disturbed her.
“Afternoon, Sarah.”
Sarah would have preferred it if Michael, the window cleaner, called her Mrs Jackson. She had tried to call him Mr Simmons – the name on his van – but he’d made a joke about his dad being retired and insisted she call him Mike. They compromised with Michael.
“Can you refill my bucket?” Michael asked with a polite smile. He always asked for fresh water now, to Sarah’s delight. It was a joy to her when the sunlight bounced through her streak-free windows. “Have you been spring cleaning?” he asked.
“Yes, the kids were home this weekend.”
Michael followed her through to the kitchen. “How are they? Working hard?”
“Fine, I think. The only thing they worry about is me. Amanda suggested I consider internet dating. She thinks I’m short on company.”
“Are you?”
“Not at all.”
Michael had been cleaning Sarah’s windows for five years. For four of them they’d barely spoken. Sometimes she’d sit inside a room reading, while he worked outside. Sarah didn’t intend to be rude; she just didn’t know what to say to him. What could they have in common? Then, about a year ago, he’d asked for some clean water, and they’d shared a few words. Now they had a cup of tea together every week. Michael was easy to talk to.

He knew all about her children’s exams, he understood her anxiety about moving her father into an assisted-living flat. Michael knew a lot about Sarah’s life. She knew nothing of his. He wore a wedding ring. Any inquiry from a divorcee might seem inappropriate. It might also be inappropriate to admit that yes, sometimes she was short of a certain type of company.
Sarah nervously searched around for a new topic of conversation. Suddenly Michael seemed very big and very male, standing in her neat, gleaming kitchen. His eyes settled on Sarah’s novel.
“It’s the book group’s choice,” she said.
Michael picked up the book and started to read the blurb. Irrationally, Sarah felt embarrassed. Was it the sort of book he’d enjoy? It was very deep and complex.
“Any good?” he asked.
“I’m enjoying it.”
Sarah loved books. She enjoyed exploring the world from the comfort of her sofa. But suddenly she found it impossible to articulate.
“Oh, it’s... unexpected,” she mumbled. “Biscuit?”
“I think your window cleaner sounds interesting,” said Cath, with a grin that Sarah dreaded.
“Let’s stick to the novel,” she replied. It frustrated her that every month the book group followed the same chaotic course; wine was poured, gossip flowed, the book was forgotten.
“We can’t start yet,” said Julie. “We’re expecting a new member.”
The worst thing about the gossip was that the book group’s whole purpose seemed to be finding Sarah a new man. But it was difficult for Sarah to imagine meeting anyone. When asked what she wanted in a man, she’d say she wanted someone steady, financially secure, diligent.
“Dull, you mean,” objected Cath.
“I mean someone like Liam.”
“But Liam had an affair and left you,” said Cath. “And anyway I think you secretly fancy your window cleaner.”
The door bell rang.
“Can I introduce Mike Simmons,” said Julie.
Seeing Michael out of context and in smarter clothes startled Sarah. He startled the other ladies, too; they sat with their backs straight and chests out, grinning and wide-eyed. Before Sarah had a chance to tell the others that they knew each other, Cath, surprisingly, started to talk about the book.
“I don’t suppose you’ve had a chance to read it, have you, Mike?”
“I only picked it up last week but I managed to finish it this morning.”
“Good going. It’s chunky, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but fascinating. The characters are so complex yet completely believable.”
For the rest of the evening, Sarah listened as Michael enthused about books. He was familiar with classics and contemporary works; he mesmerized her with his perceptiveness and confidence. How had she known him for five years yet not known him at all?
“You were quiet this evening,” said Michael in the hallway. “I thought you liked the book.”
“I did. It’s just that…”
“She’s shy,” added Cath, fortified by half a bottle of wine. “Are you married?”
“Widowed. Nine years ago,” he said. “Look, maybe we could go for a coffee,” he added, turning back to Sarah.
“Then you can tell me your thoughts on the book without a crowd.”
“Don’t waste your time, Mike. You’re not her type,” laughed Cath.
Sarah froze.
“She has a type?” he asked, with a curious grin.
“Yes, she’s after a bit of rough. She fancies her window cleaner. You’re far too smart.”
“That’s interesting,” said Michael. “But you know what they say – never judge a book by its cover.”

I often think of her in the autumn, as I rake leaves or hang storm windows. Her name was Gladys Mahaney, although she was always Mrs. Mahaney to me. She weighed maybe 90 or 100 pounds, and she’d keep her arms folded when she came outside to inspect my work, and it’s been a quarter-century or so since I last saw her.

Yet as I do the jobs we all do around the house — as I sometimes cut corners to save a little time — I know exactly how she would respond:

Unless a job is done right, it isn’t done.

Mrs. Mahaney lived in a small, one-story white house about a block away from my childhood home. She and her husband had the place built, probably long before World War II. He was a banker, if I recall correctly, and he’d been dead a long time before I started working in the yard. In the living room, Mrs. Mahaney had photos that showed her husband with some beautiful Collies. It took me a while to understand why those photos held no children.

Memories fade, blur or turn into myth as we grow older, but I remember — distinctly — meeting Mrs. Mahaney. I was in junior high, and her street offered a “cut through” to a neighborhood where we used to play ball. She was standing in the yard one day as I walked past. She was tiny, white-haired, and when our eyes met, I wondered if there was a problem. I could tell she wanted to say something, but she was hesitant, fighting her own instincts.

“Excuse me,” she finally said. “Would you be interested in some lawn work?”

Relieved, I told her, “Sure.” I could always use a few dollars. How hard could it be?

I had absolutely no clue.

By that point, Mrs. Mahaney was deep into her 70s, and she kept her hair piled high atop her head, and she demanded absolute perfection in her yard. In autumn, that meant putting up the storm windows she kept in the garage, each one labeled and stacked in precise order. Once the screens came down, every window in the house had to be cleaned. I assumed it would be easy enough. I got a bucket of water, a few rags and some Windex, and I thought: Maybe an hour, and I’ll be playing touch football with my friends.

Arms folded, Mrs. Mahaney explained differently.

She showed me, by her standards, how to wash a window. You start off by cleaning it thoroughly with a dry cloth, she said, or else you’re just “spreading mud on glass.” Once that’s done, you use wet paper towels to scrub the window — rags, she said, leave behind fibers and threads — and finally, only then, you use Windex to bring the shine.

Done her way, the job took three times as long. My friends would stop by, take in the scene and sadly wander away.

But the windows glistened. Decades later, I taught my children to clean glass as I learned the job from Mrs. Mahaney.

For her, any task involved similar discipline. When I mowed the lawn, she’d order me to drag the mower backward for the five rows or so closest to her garden; if you’re careless, she said, the mower spreads weeds among the blossoms. The gutters had to be cleaned exactly so, and the sidewalks always needed to be edged, and the leaves in the fall had to go into neat piles.

Still, the work kept me in money for the movies, and it led to jobs with other retirees who lived along the street, and I kept going back. I began to feel mingled gratitude and responsibility toward this tiny woman, who always dressed impeccably, as if prepared for a work day in an office.

As the years went by, she let down her guard, just a bit. She’d occasionally make me a sandwich for lunch, and I began to learn a little of her story. When she was a young woman, Mrs. Mahaney became dangerously ill. The doctors told her she had tuberculosis. They performed surgery to collapse one of her lungs, then sent her to a sanitarium to recover.

At that time, she had yet to marry her husband. They had been dating for years, but had not scheduled a wedding. Other men, she said, might have deserted her, especially after realizing she’d lost any chance of having children. He kept the faith. He routinely made the long drive to visit her. When she was finally allowed to go home, the couple got married and built a life, with their new house and their Collies.

Then they grew old, her husband died and her own strength began to fail.

One day, grudgingly, she asked for help from a kid in the street.

That kid worked for her as he went from junior high, to high school and on to college. I still tended the yard throughout those years, until the world called and the time came for me to move away. I said goodbye to Mrs. Mahaney, and we exchanged Christmas cards and the occasional phone call from afar. When she died, I didn’t hear about it until long after the funeral. They buried her with her husband in St. Mary’s Cemetery, the same graveyard that holds my mother and my father.

When I’m there, when I can, I stop by Mrs. Mahaney’s grave. The duties, these days, are pretty simple: I pull out any tall grass near her stone, and I use my hands to brush the dust from her name.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Zombie Window Cleaners?

I came across this article & thought wouldn't it be great if window cleaners could get in on the act? Just imagine putting some coloring in your normal cleaning solution & making a fundraiser or Halloween special out of the concept. Make sure you watch the video at the bottom for the public reactions from a marketing stunt in NYC to bring back a zombie TV series...

Car Wash of the Living Dead - There were buckets of blood and suds aplenty at yesterday's fundraiser for the Toronto Zombie Walk. When zombies are around, trouble looms. Whether caused by disease, viral outbreaks, space debris, or science gone bad, a gathering of the undead tends not to turn out well for the living. And yet even though logic dictates that one should run when faced with a mass of shambling, shuffling creatures, curiosity draws us to them despite the mortal danger. I’m guilty of this. How else can I explain why I ventured into the middle of a gathering of zombies who appeared to be…washing cars?

I had heard rumours that the undead were being used to clean the vehicles of the living. The washes are reputed to serve as a fundraising effort for the annual zombie walk through the streets of Toronto. Further rumours suggested that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is a partner in this year’s walk. As I pulled into the Classic Coin Car Wash at College Street and Lansdowne Avenue, my heart jumped a little. Was I putting my life on the line to discover if a zombie could wash my vehicle? Perhaps, but I had to find out if the undead could do a better job than some of the mechanized car washes around town, whose programmed cleaning cycles can miss a spot or two.

Judging from her fresh-looking gaping wounds and relatively peachy colour, it appeared the zombie collecting my money had recently joined the undead. Her partner was grey and slower-moving, which made it easy to close the window on him when he attempted to eat my brains. I was motioned to park the car and wait for a bay to open up. Since the air lacked agonized screaming, I figured the situation was under enough control that it was safe to wander the lot. There was a table where several zombies had been pressed into bake sale/T-shirt-selling duty. Even the undead have embraced the cupcake craze: frosting swirled like a brain was a good match with the chocolate cake, even if I tried not to ponder what (or who) might have gone into the sweet topping.

As I drove my car into an open bay, it was swarmed by a legion of groaning zombies. Their eyes spoke of their inner longing to have me for lunch as they slowly spread blood across my vehicle. Their slow, jerky motions shook the car a bit, which was unnerving until I realized they were spreading their bloody mess onto every spot of dirt. Still, the thought that they might turn on me at any second made me want to flee the car the second the horde shuffled off to work on another car.

Back in the lot, more zombies had ventured to the curb to draw in traffic. Their efforts appeared to be working, as a line snaked westward along College Street. While some undead mumbled about brains, others offered children cotton candy. One brave kid smiled when a zombie grunted that he could leave a bloody print on the child’s t-shirt (with parental approval, of course). Any lingering worries about a sudden attack evaporated.

Soon it was time to drive off. I looked over the car and determined that training the undead to clean vehicles might have been a good idea. The car smelled fresh and soapy. The blood had been washed off. With the zombies’ attentions turned to other drivers who shared my morbid sense of curiosity, I drove out of the lot. Just to be to safe, I checked the trunk a few miles down the road just to make sure nothing had crawled in while I wasn’t looking.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Window Cleaning News

A window washers feet dangle above St. Anthony Falls as he cleans the windows at the Guthrie Theater.
Window Cleaner revealed.

"Window Washer" by Alyssa Boldischar, which shows a worker dangling from high up on the Guthrie Theater's exterior, cleaning a water-streaked window that looks out onto the Stone Arch Bridge. Minnesota artists display their ample talents in the State Fair Fine Arts show.

Two men clean windows on a Little Rock, Ark., office building Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.

15 years ago...1997: A Boston woman, injured after falling down a 10ft drop, while trying to clean her windows was rescued – by a window cleaner. Self-employed window cleaner Wayne Chadwick heard the woman’s cried for help from Witham Bank West near to where he was working and went to help. He said he was appalled when he got there as some people appeared to be standing around doing nothing. The woman had only been living in the flat for a few days, but had been trying to clean a window herself when she slipped and fell. “She was shouting ‘help me’,” Mr Chadwick said: “It was obvious she had broken her ankle and there was blood on the other leg.” The emergency services arrived and it took six firefighters to lift the woman out of the small space.

Steve Ercolino told a female co-worker he wasn’t feeling well as they walked down West 33rd Street to their office yesterday morning. The 41-year-old clothing-company vice president got to the front door at around 9 a.m. — and was immediately ambushed by a workplace enemy out to settle an old score. Ercolino never saw him coming. “I saw Jeff Johnson come from behind a white truck and pull out a gun. Steve didn’t see it because he was talking to me,” the colleague, Irene Timan, told The Post. “Steve was standing at my right. Jeff Johnson came from the left side,” she added. “He just came right in front of Steve, pulled out a gun, and opened fire. “Steve screamed, and I ran.”
Timan said the crazed killer — who had been laid off from the Hazan Imports fashion company last year — showed no sign of remorse as he pumped round after round into Ercolino.“I saw two police officers pulled their guns out,” said a witness who identified himself only as Joey, a 44-year-old window cleaner. “I heard bang, bang again.” As the bullets flew, people ran for their lives and ducked anywhere for cover. “It’s like a war zone here,” said Sheryll Sarmiento, 33, an accessories worker on West 33rd Street. “Everyone’s shaken.”

An exciting adventure ahead for Leighton window cleaner: A window of opportunity awaits a man from Leighton who is preparing for an exciting adventure just before hitting the big 5-0. Self-employed window cleaner Keith Siddle, 49, of Highfield Road, is swapping his sponge for a walking stick as he prepares to hike a challenging 23-miles over two days along England’s first Natural World Heritage Site. Keith, who has raised more than £3,500 so far for Great Ormond Street Hospital, will start his adventure a few days before his birthday on September 8 and then camp over with his fellow walkers to continue the trek the next day. He said: “I knew my family would ask what I wanted for my birthday, so I said I didn’t want or need anything, but did ask if they would like to sponsor me instead.

Window stickers keep birds on right path: Pieces of sticky plastic could save hundreds of wild birds from death or injury every year - but humans will have to pay up to help out. Dawn Morton, of Turakina Bird Rescue, is importing window stickers to help birds see and avoid panes of glass. The wildlife clinic at Massey University treats many injured native birds that have crashed into windows. The birds are then transferred to Turakina Bird Rescue for rehabilitation. Ms Morton said the simple window sticker could deter birds from flying into glass. The translucent transfers are barely visible to humans but make parts of the window opaque to birds. She said the bird rescue centre was never short of feathered patients, and there was often a waiting list. "Any help humans can give in avoiding the bird accidents would be welcomed," she said. Kereru, tui, morepork, black-backed gulls and harrier hawks are common victims of clean windows, with the kereru's heavy frame and tendency to swoop making it particularly susceptible. "It's the most common cause of most injuries to wood pigeons (kereru)," NZ Wildlife Centre director Brett Gartrell said.
One kereru now staying at the wildlife centre suffered a damaged wing and broken coracoid bone after flying into a plate-glass window. Birds hitting glass often broke the coracoid bone in their chest. Recovery from the injury took up to three months, he said. Ms Morton said one kereru had struck the window of a Whanganui house so hard a clear outline of the bird, created by dust from its feathers, was visible on the window for several days. The window stickers can be purchased from the Bird Rescue Centre or from the Department of Conservation's Manawatu/Rangitikei area office on Tremaine Ave, Palmerston North.

Flying into Doha, Qatar at dusk is like flying into Las Vegas, only that all of your senses are heightened – a sobering aftereffect of the incredibly long time it takes visitors to get there. Skyscrapers force the boundless terrain and wind-swept sand to yield to steel. Luxurious buildings with penthouse apartments, rooftop pools, and robust architectural flourishes are perfectly designed to allow guests the opportunity to forget where they are. The city feels designed by outsiders. All the buildings are brand new, while the “older” ones have a fresh coat of textured paint for effect. Every delicacy from around the world is available with a call. But if you take the trouble to look just one story above the window of the air-controlled coffee shop that smells of freshly made French croissants, you can see the exact line where the window washers must have put down their scrubbers and let the sand take over.

Sloan Transportation Products Launches Line of Green Cleaners: Sloan Transportation Products Ltd. has launched its MaxxGreen line of environmentally friendly products for the heavy-duty trucking industry. The first two products being introduced are MaxxClean super-concentrate all-purpose cleaner and MaxxAbsorb floor cleaner and general absorbent. Both product lines are certified eco-friendly. MaxxClean has been formulated in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide a safer, more environmentally preferable alternative to existing cleaning products without sacrificing performance. This highly concentrated, versatile cleaner is formulated to take on a wide range of cleaning jobs, Sloan says. It is available as a super-concentrate degreaser, vehicle wash and window and glass cleaner.

Manchester–Students at Manchester Middle School will instead report to Manchester High School next month. That’s because the district discovered visible mold earlier this month. Samples of the mold came back positive for aspergillus/ penicillium and cladosporium. “The mold has permeated large areas of the first floor,” the district said in a statement. “The cleanup company, has been contracted to perform cleanup of the mold. SERVPRO’s objective is not to kill the mold, which leaves dead spores behind, but to thoroughly remove all existing mold throughout the building. They do not use harsh chemicals for this process. The main cleaning agent they use is window cleaner, which they say cleans very well and leaves very little residue.

Raith chief robbery horror as callous thieves make off with thousands of pounds worth of jewellery. Turnbull Hutton dismissed the possibility that the cruel break-in was linked to his club's involvement in the Rangers scandal. Hutton, 66, and wife Margo were on holiday when their Edinburgh bungalow was targeted. He said: “Every piece of jewellery in the entire house was gone. The only other thing they took was a pillow case, presumably to carry the jewellery in. “We were coming back from holiday and were in the car when we got a call from police who were in our house. “The window cleaner had discovered that the back window had been forced. He told the neighbours and they called the police.” Raith were hit by threatening emails and calls after director Eric Drysdale sat on the SFA panel which imposed a transfer ban on Rangers. Hutton dismissed any possibility of a link between the break-in and the row. He said: “It was just out of sheer greed.”

Bengt, 80, left for a week with broken neck: An 80-year-old man was left lying in bed for a week with a broken neck at a care home in western Sweden after his care assistants failed to notice that anything was amiss. The fall one week previously had fractured several bones in the man’s cervical vertebrae, which are located immediately below the base of the skull. At the time, care staff had enlisted the help of a nearby window cleaner to get the man back into his bed, but no further examinations were taken. He then didn’t move from his bed for a week, with his personal care assistants not realizing that he was seriously injured. Rosengren confessed that he can’t remember anything from the week he spent confined in bed, wrote the paper.

Namibia: Cycling Adventurer Completes 4400km Trip - Robin Barrett, a 63-year old British national from Halifax, completed a 4 400km African coast-to-coast cycling adventure from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Walvis Bay on Monday, August 13. It took the former French-teacher (now window-cleaner) 75 days to cross from Dar es Salaam on the east coast of the continent, through Malawi and Zambia, to Walvis Bay on the west coast. He started his adventure on June 1. "I was a teacher for 30 years, and eventually started my own window-cleaning business. It was while I was cleaning windows that I heard the story of Fran Sandham who walked from Walvis Bay to Dar es Salaam, which is what inspired me to also go on my own adventure," Barrett told The Namibian. He already had his tour-bicycle, and according to him, the window-cleaning kept him fit. "Also, after about four weeks of cycling, one gets fit too," he said.
Barrett had been on all the continents except Africa before. This adventure would allow him to see what the continent was all about. "At first the thought of 'black Africa' was a little intimidating. But I soon learned that the African people, especially those in small villages had more time to be friendly and hospitable. Everywhere I went, I received a warm welcome, and the fact that everyone could easily communicate in English was also an encouragement," he said. The cyclist had few problems along the road, except for a luggage-rack that broke off, and five punctures. Barrett advised those that may want to do similar adventures to stay away from the tourists centres. "Go through the quiet country and absorb that which comes your way. It's really different and refreshing," he said.

"Who I Really Am" is a reality based show on aspirations that have been squelched due to financial needs. The show's most interesting element is the new found happiness and unexpected changes life has brought to each and every one of the people on this show. It is upbeat, happy, and inspiring. The first episode shows a top commercial artist from Cuba who now is the top Parking Valet at a prestigious Miami Beach Condo building. Another woman who was an IT Engineer in her native country of Venezuela, now owns her own high rise window washing company in South Florida. She states in the show, “Only in America could I have a small business all my own and keep growing yearly.” Viewers watch her expertly clean windows with pride and dedication to her business.

New Movie “Premium Rush” Brings You a Look at Some of NYC’s Most Dangerous Jobs: Window Washer: We’ve all seen them—guys in little gondolas suspended hundreds of feet in the air, scraping away at the glass façade of a skyscraper. To them, it’s another day at the office; to you, it’s a great reason to put up with a little bird crap on your window.

The Sun, sex, and solar panels: Ah the seventies. Sure, we only had electricity three days a week, two channels on TV and a record of hooliganism that would embarrass Genghis Khan, but still – it was a simpler time. Men were men, women were women, and anyone in door-to-door sales was a randy old goat. Yes, popular fiction would have us believe window washers, driving instructors and gas-fitters were all delivering bored housewives considerably more than an extended warrantee – just ask Robin Askwith.

Reynoldsburg police reports: Police received a report at approximately 8:50 p.m. Aug. 21 that the Dollar General store, 1310 Brice Road, was robbed at gunpoint by four black males, all with thin builds and all wearing hoodies. An employee told police he was outside washing windows when he saw the four running toward him from the south side of the building. They ordered him inside and told him to open the safe. He said he was unable to do so and pointed toward the location where the store manager could be found. He told police he was then ordered to crawl to the drink coolers east of the cash registers and told to empty his pockets, which he did.

BID4OBAN to target empty shops: ‘The BID’s vision is to create a vibrant and vital town centre. Empty shop units clearly don’t contribute towards achieving that. ‘Right from the start the Steering Group wanted this issue to feature in the Business Plan, and it does.  We all understand the negative impact of empty shops on Oban’s trading environment, and the BID will do all it can to tackle the situation.’ If the ballot is successful and the BID gets the go-ahead, it will address empty shop units in two main ways. Firstly, the Business Plan allocates £14,000 towards window displays and window cleaning for empty shop frontage.  The BID company will work with property owners and their estate agents to make the vacant premises as attractive as possible.

More people in Denver working for themselves: From 2008 to 2011, the number of self-employed workers — one measure of entrepreneurial activity — rose an estimated 2.9 percent in metro Denver. That beat the national average of 1 percent but ranked the Mile High City 20th among major metro areas, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International in Moscow, Idaho. Denver severely lagged leaders such as Houston, up 12.2 percent, and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., up 11.8 percent. If skilled workers are merely going solo to get by — say, an architect who starts a window-washing service — that can indicate an economy that isn't creating enough opportunities. "People do what they need to do to survive," Wobbekind said. Since 2009, the largest self-employment gains in metro Denver have come among child-care workers, maids and other housekeepers, and construction workers, said Joshua Wright, a communications manager with EMSI.

The upcoming Glass Association of North America's (GANA) Fall Conference, scheduled for September 18-22 at the Hilton Chicago, will feature a session by industry consultant Paul Duffer. Duffer's presentation, titled "Glass Surface Problems and Solutions," will discuss a variety of issues, including the ongoing discussion of window cleaning issues. GANA has been working with the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) on a joint task group to create a series of Glass Informational Bulletins and a new ASTM standard on glass cleaning. "The best technical minds in the glass and glazing industry come together in September at GANA's Fall Conference in Chicago," says GANA president Jay Phillips of Guardian Industries Corp. "These working meetings define our industry standards and provide recommendations for the appropriate use of glass to the design and construction communities. Many critical issues will be discussed, including the appropriate glass for balconies, realistic daylighting recommendations, life cycle analysis of glass products and defending the use of glass and glazing in commercial buildings. By attending Fall Conference, you help shape our industry and ensure your interests are heard."

A fisherman who helped in the search for Dylan Cecil off the coast at Burnham-on-Sea has spoken to the News after the youngster’s body was found. Thomas McDade, 42, of Chard, fished at Burnham for many years, and he and pals Mark Giblett, of Bridgwater, and Darren Wright, of Highbridge, walked sections of the mudflats last week searching for four-year-old Dylan, who slipped from a jetty into the water on August 19. It was five days later at around 12.30pm on Friday that Dylan’s body was found at Burnham Yacht Club less than half a mile from the jetty. Thomas, who moved to Chard in 2010 having lived all of his life in the Burnham and Highbridge area, said: “I know it sounds a bit strange, but I was pleased when they found Dylan’s body.  “If he’d gone out into the Bristol Channel I don’t think he’d have been found.”
Thomas, who works as a window cleaner in and around the Chard area, began fishing at Burnham when he was aged 12. “When I heard about what happened I knew I had to help in the search,” he said. “It really touched me what happened and I felt so sorry for Dylan’s parents. “When it happened, and because I know the mudflats up there like the back of my hand, I decided I’d help in the search.” Thomas was left frustrated when the official search was called off, and he was planning to continue looking before news came through that Dylan, who had been in Burnham with his mum and dad, Rachel McCollum and Darren Cecil, visiting grandparents, had been found. “That stretch of water up there is so dangerous,” he said. “The mudflats are very dangerous and you have to be so careful. “I’d urge anyone who visits the Burnham area to take care on the beach.”

Fishy Stories... more awards than the Oscars.

KEEPING THEM CLEAN - Kewon Brooks with Fish Window Cleaning had change up his game as he went to work on cleaning the windows of the historic Amtrak Brookwood station at 1688 Peachtree Street Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012. Designed by neoclassical architect Neel Reid, the 1918 building has a graceful facade of arched doorways and columns. Brooks says he has to use a different technique of swirls on moon shaped windows compared to square ones. He says they clean the windows there usually every six months.

Terry Jenson, owner of Fish Window Cleaning in Colorado Springs, received three awards at the national Fish Window Cleaning convention in St. Louis. Jensen’s business was named Star Performer-Standard Market Group for top revenue performance. The business also received the Tops Sales Award for adding 500-plus new accounts in 2011 and the Top Producer Award for outstanding year-over-year increase in revenue production. Fish Window Cleaning was founded in 1978 and began franchising in 1998; it has more than 230 locations.

Lori Minter, owner of Fish Window Cleaning in Fort Collins, received the Navigator Award at the annual Fish Window Cleaning Convention in St. Louis. Minter, a repeat winner, received the award for her work with prospective new franchisees.

Kevin and Paige Lambert, owners of Fish Window Cleaning, Beaverton, received the Navigator Award at the annual Fish Window Cleaning Convention in St. Louis. The award was presented in recognition of their work with prospective new franchisees.

David Merrick, owner of Fish Window Cleaning Metro East has received the Top Sales Award at the annual Fish Window Cleaning Convention in St. Louis. Merrick added 500 new customers to his business in 2011. The company offers commerical and residential window-cleaning services in Granite City and other locations.

Bill Kutney of Richboro, owner of a Fish Window Cleaning franchise in Warminster, received the Quick Start Award at the company's annual convention for his production record during his first 16 weeks in business. Kutney provides services for commercial and residential customers in parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties.

McCauley receives top sales award: Greg McCauley, owner of Fish Window Cleaning in the Portland-metro area, received the top sales award for adding more than 500 new accounts during 2011, at the annual national convention in St. Louis. Fish Window Cleaning provides services to commercial and residential customers in Portland, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tigard, Tualatin, Oregon City, Wilsonville, Sherwood, Canby and Happy Valley. The company was founded in 1978 and began franchising in 1998; it has more than 230 locations nationwide.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

San Diegos Finest... Cleaning Windows

Elite Window washing turn up to start cleaning. Click to enlarge.
Recently, Salvatore (Tory) Marino of Elite Window Washing & six other companies from the Window Cleaning Resource forum gave away their time & expertise as a services donation on a sizeable project recently in downtown San Diego. The building is home of a non profit organization called "The New Children's Museum" of San Diego. The main purpose of the museum is to get young ones to embrace that creativity that they all have. They help them by encouraging their passion, and letting it take on its own form before they become adults. Providing sustained, educational experiences in a classroom environment is central to the Museum’s mission. The center provides thousands of students and families with access to in-depth arts classes and the opportunity to work directly with an artist.

Tory (center arms folded) & other window cleaning companies get the low down on the cleaning mission. Click to enlarge.
The crew get ready with the safety harnesses. Click to enlarge.
Tory of Elite talks to Trevor of Clarion. Click to enlarge.
Tory of Elite checks the walkie talkies with the Sky High boys. Click to enlarge.
Brian Crowder of SD Cleaning Pro's & Tory in the MEWP. Click to enlarge.
Tory & his company has been cleaning this building for the last 4 years since it was opened. The very first time he tried to use a waterfed pole on the south facing side where the main entryway door is.. problems started. But after it was finished, it actually looked better before the attempt to clean the glass. There's some kind of greasy film that finds its way onto the glass that prevents use of the wfp. Every year Tory & his crew have tried to find a solution to the problem, so that they can use the wfp's as a prescrub & then use various mixtures of soaps with a pure water rinse. Nothing worked! Plus, because of the odd shape of the windows on the east and west facing sides, drips and bleeding are still going to be issues even if they were able to use the wfp's. So, nose-to-glass has always been the way to tackle this beast.

Enjoying the work! Click to enlarge.

Are we there yet? Click to enlarge.
Showing the difficulty of access. Click to enlarge.
2 x 60 footer boom lifts (MEWPS) in tandem. Click to enlarge.
Tory takes a break at one of the museums entrances. Click to enlarge.
You get a feel for the job in this picture.. wfp wasn't possible because of the grease build-up. Click to enlarge.
You can't be a "basket-case" all your life - Tory takes his turn on traffic duty in downtown San Diego. Click to enlarge.
Tory said, "We've always had only one boom lift, but this year we had two of them which really made things move pretty quickly!" "However, when you have so much foot traffic in the heart of downtown San Diego, keeping everyone safe is not an easy task." "The truth is, it don't matter the color, size or shape of your barricades." People WILL walk right thru them WITH their kids. "This project had a curveball thrown at us too...every year the museum closes the day we clean." "This year it remained open, which means that families would be trying to view the exhibits the day we were cleaning." "Children, despite a parents best intentions, as many know, can escape the watchful eyes of the parent." "So this time instead of only one spotter for the boom lift operators, we used two + one man running traffic control."

The job at hand. Click to enlarge.
A little pole work saves on the ladders. Click to enlarge.
You take the high road, I'll take the low road. Click to enlarge.
Breaking out the Alaco "A" frames. Click to enlarge.
The detail cloth man. Click to enlarge.
Getting the angle. Click to enlarge.
Closed in. Click to enlarge.
Nice aerial view of window cleaners working. Click to enlarge.
No problem! Click to enlarge.
Tory was happy to say, "It went off without a problem at all." "We had 2 booms (60 footers) running in tandem on the east and west sides of the museum with one man running traffic control and another as spotter for the operators in the baskets." "All were equipped with 2 way radios & harnessed." Tory also added, "Zero incidents, zero near misses or injuries." "Both the director and the building engineer said this is the best quality work since my company has been cleaning the windows at this building." "Timing was record breaking! - This was completed in 8.5 hours!" "Every year, its completed by 2 teams of 3 members each, with only one boom lift." " This was a test for something that I couldn't prove as fact as far as quality and production for my Elite Window Washing."

Tory adds... "Someone who enjoys their work will:
  • Solve problems/innovate solutions
  • Produce twice as much 
  • Take pride in the quality of their work 
  • Follow direction with a better attitude 
We had a great time, and we all learned something from each other."

A job well done! Click to enlarge.

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