Infrequently Asked Questions

1. Where do I find Oster blender parts?

    Try Corbets Ace Hardware in Kentfield.

2. Do you sell appliance parts? No. Repairs only.

3. Do you give free estimates?  Sorry. No free estimates.

4. Are small appliances worth fixing these days? Not unless it's a minor problem like a bad cord. I charge a $10 exam fee to examine   

   small appliances under $100 and $20 for items over $100.The exam fee goes toward the repair.

5. Where can I find a powerful ice cube crusher for under $15?. Go to the hardware store and buy the biggest vise

    grips you can find.

6. What's cheaper and faster than a juicer for juicing veggies and fruits? An Oster blender, some milk or water and a

    large strainer. Order a baby food jar from Oster for hard to blend foods.

7. I'm having trouble sleeping with all the racket I have to put up with every night. Come on - what really works

    after everything else fails?

   Get a construction site hearing protector headset (earmuffs) from Jacksons Hardware with a 27 or 

    higher db rating and keep it by the bed or buy the world's finest natural ear plugs at

8. I've got a pile of spent batteries I feel guilty about but ni-cad rechargeables don't have the power of alkalines.

    What's the answer?

   Try rechargeable nickel-metal hydrides or the new lithion ion rechargeable batteries.

9. My parakeets are getting louder and louder  and people are starting to complain. What can I do?

    Replace one of their old toys with a new toy. If this fails then place an unfamiliar object close to or inside the cage.

    They'll quiet down.

10. Name two household cleaners that really work.

     Trisodium phosphate (TSP) and Simple Green - both at hardware stores.

11. My garbage disposer walked off the job. What do I do now?

      Push the little red reset button on the bottom or side. (you'll have to look for it). Use a diposer wrench or crank in the

      little hole on the bottom center or a broom handle inserted into the top opening in the sink. The idea is to unjam the

      grinding disk if it's stuck.

12. My brain is having trouble keeping up with the challenge of everyday life. Is there a gadget that will force my

      brain to smarten up without any effort on my part ?  Check out

13. My electric dryer runs ok but there's no heat. What's wrong?

      Snap the dryer circuit breaker back and forth several times before you call me for service.

14. The new appliances in the stores look fancy but pretty chintzy to me. How do I know which ones are the best buy?

     Go to the library or online and check Consumer Reports. Whirlpool appliances with no electronic circuit boards

    are fairly  safe bet. The new appliances have fancy digital displays controlled by circuit boards that are expensive to

    replace, and prone to early failure. Not the best choice.

15. Every time I get a urinary infection I have to pay for a doctor visit and expensive pills. Isn't there a natural

     medicine the doctor won't tell me about?

     Some folks have had good luck with pure cranberry juice from Trader Joes. One theory claims a polymer in

     the juice makes the bladder wall too slippery for bacteria to attach themselves with their hooks. How cruel!

16. For years I've been suffering pain in my joints. A month ago I forgot to buy my usual cheese and noticed

      the pain subsided and disappeared. Was the cheese somehow causing my pain?   Could be.

     Also try the Q-Ray Bracelet ( for $100. It works!

17.  I'm sick of cleaning leaves out of my gutters. Is there a solution that really works?  

     Not really. The screens come off in storms and the gadgets tend to plug up with debris. The simplest and cheapest

     helpers are the wire domes that fit into the downspouts.

18. My yard is really ugly looking and I don't have the money or time to landscape it. What do you suggest?

     Pick up some bags of Green All Micro bark ($5 a bag). Clear away the loose debris and spread the bark on the bare

    areas. Just water the areas you want to maintain.           

19. Sometimes I start to do something but then I forget what it was I was supposed to do. I seem to be getting worse.

     Call around (Office depot, Longs drugs, Radio Shack) and see who carries  digital voice recorders.

     Get one that has a plastic holder. Tie a shoelace or chain through the plastic holder, hang it around your neck and use it.

     Check Centerpointe Research audio tapes which stimulate memory.

20. Do you have a natural remedy for acid stomach?

      Raw fruits and vegetables are great for healing the stomach lining. If you eat a bit too much at a meal wait at least

      1 hour (2 is better) and take small swigs of Aloe Vera Juice from Trader Joes. The gallon size - green label-

      plain tasting is best. Plain water between meals works well also.

21. I just bought a new dishwasher and I'm wondering how I can make it last a long time?   The most common

     damage occurs when glassware clinks together from the force of the water and cracks. The pieces fall down into

     the well, and in poorly designed units, get past the filter into the pump. What happens next is x-rated. The same

     thing can be achieved with olive pits, cherry stones and other paraphernalia left on dirty dishes.

22. I just put in a new faucet and the water volume is half what it should be. I unscrewed the spout aerator and

     removed rust particles lodged inside  - but then it started to drip! Why is this happening to me?  

     When an old water shut-off valve from under the sink is closed and re-opened, it releases rust, especially with old

     pipes. The rust particles get underneath the washers and allow water to leak through. The easy way out is to turn

     the water on and off rapidly to blast out the particles. If that fails, remove the washers and clean or replace them .

     Unscrew the spout filter/aerator & turn the water on full blast to carry away the rust.

23. My refrigerator has water in the bottom and now it's running out onto the floor. What is causing that?

     The freezer drain is plugged or the defrost system has a failed component. Time to give me a call.

24. My toilet flushes all by itself. How come? 

      Your stopper is leaking, the water level drops , and the fill valve allows more water to come in. What

      you hear is the tank refilling.

25. What is the ultimate solution for protecting my computer operating system and valuable files? 

      Use DVD's and external hard drives with a backup program.

  26. As I get older I worry about hearing loss. Can this be prevented?  

     This is what I did : After watching rock stars wearing hearing aids it dawned on me that loud sound vibrations can

     damage my delicate hearing mechanism. I began to put foam earplugs in my ears and reduce the intensity of noisy

     environments while still hearing what was going on. The end result was an increase in my sensitivity to

     sound. Centerpointe Research also developed a cassette audio tape called Silent Stim which gives your hearing

     a  tune-up.

27. I have a bad case of poison oak. How can I stop the itching?

      Apply heat to the itch. Run a stream of hot water, as hot as you can stand, over the itch until it stops tickling. This

     takes about 30 seconds. Relief lasts for hours. Wash the rash with soap and hot water to wash away the oil. To speed

     healing, it helps if you can keep the affected area uncovered. Clothing that rubs back and forth spreads the rash,

     especially when sweating.

28. How can I get rid of graffiti?

       The absolute best graffiti remover is Titan Oil Flo from Hagels Janitorial Supply in San Rafael or any jantorial supply

      outlet. Forget the toxic products in the hardware store. Go with the best.

29. What is the best adult shoot-em-up video game of all time?

       Go online with Unreal Tournament. Free download available at

      Specify the original Game of the Year (GOTY) version from 1999.

30. What is the most effective way to avoid headaches, colds, and general malaise (feeling crummy)? Drink water between

     meals whether you are thirsty or not and don't overeat. Stop eating when you are almost full. Lack of sufficient H2O in

     the body to flush out the waste after a meal slows the elimination process and encourages bacterial growth.

     Microorganisms multiply in food waste and their waste in turn results in headaches, colds and illness. These are

     symptoms of the body cleansing itself. Short walks (exercise) after periods of inactivity will quickly

     revitalize the body and restore a feeling of well being. I know this works because I stopped suffering from colds, fevers

     and headaches once I began to follow these simple rules. A diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and vegetable proteins

    (cooked grains, nuts and seeds [raw, unsalted] will clear up most digestive problems.

31. Tired of persistent calls from telemarketers?

     For a measly twenty bucks you can save yourself a lot of aggravation with a tiny plug in device called Easy Hang Up. It's

     simple to install and fun to push the button that plays the message and disconnects the caller. Just make sure it really is a

     telemarketer and not an important call from your boss.

32. What is the best source of interactive music on the web?

     Check out SLACKER RADIO and their new G2 portable radio.

33. I have a twitch in my eyelid and in the muscle below my eye. How can I make it stop?

     In some cases a vitamin deficiency can cause the electrical biocircuits in your body called neurons to discharge at random

     intervals.Try Trader Joes high potency multivitamins and minerals at mealtime if you haven't already. It worked for me.

34. Do you treat your dog as a human being or as a dog?  Did you know that dog rules of social behavior differ from

    human rules?

    Learn to understand and master your dog instead of your dog mastering you.  

    Rent out “The Dog Whisperer” on DVD.  Your dog will thank you.

35. My refrigerator/freezer quit working and I’m losing food while I wait for the repairman. What shall I do?

     Pick up two bags of dry ice (not regular ice) at the nearest liquor store, put one on the top shelf in the freezer

     compartment and one on the top shelf in the refrigerator. It will keep the food from spoiling. Never take chances

     with thawed and refrozen food especially meat and dairy products, which favor the rapid growth of bacteria.

     It’s safer to throw out the food than risk food poisoning.

36. I purchased three different cold medicines recently and none of them effectively relieved my symptoms the way they

      have in the past. What happened to cause this?

      What happened is this: Clandestine labs have sprung up across America to cash in on the increasing popularity of

       methamphetamines. One of the main  ingredients in manufacturing crystal meth is pseudoephedrine hydrochloride,

       a nasal decongestant found in cold medications. Many retailers have moved all products containing pseudoephedrine

       hcl into the pharmacy in an effort to discourage this activity. You can still get the real deal instead of phenylephrine,

        which is only half as effective, by showing your photo id and signing a statement that goes into the computer. This data

        can help the DEA locate anyone who is purchasing large quantities for alternative purposes.

37. What major appliances would you recommend for purchase?

        Whirlpool and Kitchenaid with no electronics is a safe choice  - if you can still find one.

        Whirlpool Duet Front Loader  or Whirlpool Direct Drive Top Loader are good choices in washing machines.

        The front loader uses much less water than the top  loader but costs more to purchase and repair. The top loader uses

         more water but costs less to purchase and repair. Take your pick.