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Fall Newsletter, 2014

Just Keeps Getting Better

By: Wayne Coolidge
   I’ve been working side by side with my lovely wife Wendy since we first opened our business thirty years ago. Utilizing her accounting degree, she has always worked behind the scenes keeping the business afloat and stable.  Recently, she completed her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in library science and information technology, and we decided she should use that education to be more involved with the everyday operations of the business.
 After reviewing our (my) responsibilities and grading our (my) performance, it became apparent that our (my) biggest weakness was scheduling. Not the progressive scheduling of an individual project, but the scheduling and coordinating of the many jobs that we run simultaneously. Wendy was in my office when I received a series of phone calls from three different clients. When I was done she asked, “Did you just promise all three of them that you would be at their house tomorrow?” It seems I have a problem with promising too much – I just don’t want to disappoint anyone. But of course this usually ends up with me calling the client in the middle of the next day and saying that I won’t be able to make it. “That’s it,” she said, “I’m taking over scheduling.”  At first, I rebuked her but then I realized it was probably for the best. Heck, she already runs my life anyway so what would really change? Just kidding honey :)
   I can’t say there weren’t growing pains though. We picked the following Monday as the first day she would officially take over that facet of work. By the end of the day, she had already quit. I promised her I would try to give her better estimates of how long work would take (you know what they say with the acronym garbage in, garbage out) and she agreed to stay on. The second day went much better, but by the end of the day Wednesday, she quit again.
   It has been over a month now.  We’ve ironed out the kinks and I think that we (I) have got much better. Yes, she has complete control of my life, but I’m not complaining (especially when she schedules golf time into my busy schedule). I’m glad that Wendy has taken a larger role in the business – because it just keeps getting better!

Closet Design: Put More Behind the Door

   A closet can be more than just a place to hang clothes- it can be your own personal dressing room. When you are choosing how to design it, there are many aspects to consider. First, you want to choose a design that corresponds with how you store your clothes. For example, if you hang most of your clothes, you will want to add more hanging space. However, if you prefer clothes to be folded or have a large shoe collection, you may want to add shelves or cubbies. Be sure to think of ways that you can increase the visibility of your items, as you do not want to spend every morning searching through layers of clothes for an outfit. Second, make use of all the space that you can- even if it means going vertical. You can add storage bins overhead or rolling bins underneath of items you don’t wear often or that are out of season. Thirdly, consider lighting. Windows are great for adding a lot of natural light during the day, however they can take up needed storage space and you still need back up for when it’s dark.  To avoid fire hazards, most choose fluorescent light as the best solution. Lastly, don’t forget other possible add-ons for your closet, like a sitting area, mirror, TV, and/or ironing board.

Makeover Your Fireplace

   With colder weather and shorter days approaching, many of us will begin to spend more time indoors. Wouldn’t it be great to cuddle up in your living room next to a beautiful fireplace? But what if you have an outdated fireplace or just don’t love the color of the bricks? Well, with a little change, you can make a huge difference and give your living room a completely new feel. Here are some techniques and tips to give your fireplace an easy makeover.
   Paint it or whitewash the bricks. Any fireplace can be painted any color, and this is probably the most simple way to convert it to a new look. You could also paint a pattern or design on the mantle or chimney. Whitewashing a fireplace is when you dilute white paint with a little water. This creates a translucent cover so that the brick will show through slightly.
   Change the screen. There are so many different designs and colors available- dare to add something different. Although most screens are standard sizes, you can also order custom for a better fit. Don’t forget tools can also be a decorating piece, how you display them can change the style.
   Fill the space. If you don’t use your fireplace, consider adding something else inside it. Examples: candles, shelves, plants, or other decorations.

The Essentials of
“The Man Cave”

Football season is finally here! Which means you will want a great hangout space for entertaining all your friends. Check out the 6 essential items you need to create the perfect man cave.
  1. Bar. Every man cave should have a place where you can offer your company a drink. If you want to step it up, you can add a mini fridge, kegerator, or flat screen TV.
  2. Comfortable seating. If you want people to stick around, you better have comfy chairs- and don’t forget your own personal recliner designated just for you.
  3. Home theater experience. Face it; no one wants to watch the game on a small, outdated TV. You need to upgrade to that big, flat screen you’ve been wanting to get and hook up the surround sound.
  4. Games. There’s more to a man cave than just sitting around. Add a pool table, foosball, darts, poker table, or gaming console.
  5. Music. Have a band? You can add a band area to your man cave for you and your buds to rock out. Or maybe just hook up your iPod.
  6. Workout area. What’s manlier than pumping iron? Convert a corner of your man cave into a home workout area and throw in some weights, a treadmill, and punching bag.

Preparing for Winter: Drain Your Water Heater

It is recommended that you drain your water heater annually. Sediment can build up on the bottom of the tank, causing a decrease in the amount of water the tank can hold or clogging the drain valve. To do so, follow these steps:
  • Turn off the power supply. For electric heaters, turn off the power at the breaker box. For gas heaters, shut off the valve controlling the gas supply (or turn the thermostat to “pilot”).
  • Turn off the water supply. This should be near the cold water inlet pipe at the top.
  • Turn on the hot water in your sink or tub. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the lines.
  • Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
  • Put the other end of the hose in a safe area. Note: the water will be extremely hot, keep away from kids, pets, and sensitive plants.
  • Open the drain valve, allowing the water to drain out. Open the pressure valve (usually on top) to get a better flow.
  • Drain until water runs clear (not discolored/no sediment)
  • Finished: close the drain and pressure valves, and disconnect the hose. Turn off the hot water you had running. Turn the water supply back on and let the tank fill. When the tank is full and back up to normal temperature, re-open the pressure valve slowly to release any excess air then close it. Turn on the power supply- only once the tank is full, otherwise you run the risk of the heating element blowing.

Fun Suggestion

Homemade Tree Branch Candles


Have any tree branches laying around the yard that you've been meaning to clean up or don't know what to do with? Well, here is a simple project that can put those downed branches to use! Here are the steps:
  1. Use a saw to cut the branch to various lengths
  2. Depending on what look you want, you can peel off or sand down some or all of the bark
  3. Drill a hole in one end (1 1/2" drill bit is perfect for tea lights)
  4. Put on a coat of stain/polyurethane
  5. Add a candle and enjoy!
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Copyright © 2014 W.A. Coolidge Company, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1701
Dover, NH 03821-1701