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Handyman Letter
July 2004

In This Issue:

1) When is the “perfect time”?... a message from the Natural Handyman

2) Back at ya'... in appreciation for media citations or reciprocal links!

3) Sweepstakes Central... win great home repair stuff!!

4) News from the Basement Annex!!

5) Q&A with our readers

6) Linkmaster's Corner

7) Pass the hammer, would ya?"... NH's readers speak out!

8) Featured in the Natural Handyman Bookshop...
“Renovation: A Complete Guide” by Michael W. Litchfield


1) When is the “perfect time”?... a message from the Natural Handyman

The quicksand of indecision is perhaps the greatest impediment to personal and business success. Even in the face of opportunity, avoiding success by simply standing still can be too, too easy! In this guest message, Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler offers inspiration to help us all move forward in our lives... one step at a time!

“The Zen of Taking Action” by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler

"To be or not to be, that is the question!" From Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

You've probably had the experience at one time or another of feeling "stuck" in your life. Of just sitting in one place -- unclear of what decision you should make.  How can you move forward in life when you feel unclear about the next step you need to take? Admittedly, such a lack of clarity can cause some pretty extreme stress!

It's difficult to move forward if you don't have clarity, since clarity of purpose often controls your supply of life energy. Knowing what you want generates the energy to pursue it! While not knowing drains your energy.

So what can you do if you lack clarity? What are your options? If you're afraid of making the wrong choice, you can wait and hope for clarity. Or you can try to think your options through in your own mind.

But the truth is, you'll never really "figure life out." In terms of "life-questions" -- life has a way of just resolving itself, with or without our conscious intervention or so-called decision-making!  And even when we think we've got everything all "figured out" -- life will seldom deliver a perfect replica of our mental picture.

One good way to conquer uncomfortable indecision is to simply make a choice from among your "unknowns."  Whether or not you feel certain your choice is the "right" choice -- just take a small step in what seems to be the "best" direction, in spite of your doubt or confusion. There is great power in action. Movement in any direction will break you free from the "cement" of indecision -- and provide new information and experiences.  Action sends ripples of energy and change out into the world. And since life is so totally unpredictable, who knows how your situation will change once you get some "action energy" into motion.

You may even want to think of your life as a novel you're reading. You're only part of the way into the book -- and you really don't know what's going to happen next. How could you know? The book is still being written!

The challenge you face is this: Dare you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you "handle" taking action without knowing whether it's the "right" action?  You may feel confused or anxious, and wonder if you're making the "right" decision. But somewhere along in your "life novel" you may discover there was no "right" decision.

Here's what I've learned in my own "roller coaster" version of life: If you find you've stepped onto the "wrong" path, you can always adjust your direction.  And any so-called "mistakes" simply add to your personal wisdom about what doesn't work -- thus taking you closer to discovering what does work!

There is great power in action!  Go for it!  Even if you make the wrong choice, at least you'll generate some "Zen action energy" and break free of the painful, mind-numbing cement of indecision!

(Boost your mind-power at Quantum-Self. Motivating and uplifting articles, brain teasers, and free self tests. Subscribe to sizzling ezine and get FREE DYNAMITE ABUNDANCE COURSE.
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Thought that would get your attention! Actually, some of my best friends are lawyers. If you have a deck that uses TREX composite wood products, you may be interested in this press release from PRNewswire. Apparently TREX has not proved to be as “maintenance free” as advertised, and the company is being taken to task! You be the judge at...

REMODELING TRENDS Emphasize Personal Needs
With over $180 billion spent by homeowners on remodeling projects, where is the money going? According to Gail McCauley of the Paint Quality Institute, homeowners seek to personalize their homes with an emphasis on personal spaces and quality products!

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is launching a drowning prevention campaign as part of an intensified initiative to prevent the tragic drowning of 250 children under the age of 5 annually in swimming pools. Are your kids at risk? Read this article. Video and audio clips available at the CPSC website.

Burnt out? Feel like a dim bulb? Never fear... let the light shine in with some new and interesting articles on light bulbs...
1) “The History Of The Light Bulb”... goes well beyond Thomas Edison!

2) “How Light Bulbs Work”... you still won't be able to fix them, but at least you'll know what you're getting angry at when the lights go out!


5) Q&A with our readers...

Dear NH,

I have noticed in recent years several types of drill bits available on the market. Could you give a brief assessment on the quality/value of titanium vs. cobalt. Are they worth the extra money? I have not bought bits in over twenty years- before all these different kinds were made. Thanks.

RQ in Carrollton, GA


Not being a product tester (I leave that to the pros at Family Handyman and Consumer Reports) doesn't leave me "opinionless"!

In my years in home repair I have used all types of drill bits... titanium, cobalt, both cheap and expensive. My humble opinion is, for most people and most drilling situations, buying the cheaper "name brand" bits is the best way to go.

Are the more expensive "specialty" bits worth the money? Perhaps if you were doing jobs that require their extra toughness, which is mostly needed for metal or ceramic tile drilling. Drilling anything other than metal does not really utilize the exceptional properties of these bits. Even when drilling into concrete or masonry, most homeowners will not need expensive bits for these occasional jobs.

Add that to the fact that, especially with the smaller diameter bits (under 1/8"), you are more likely to break the bit than wear it out! Again from personal experience.

So I would say that, unless you are going to be doing a lot of metal drilling, stick to the less expensive standard drill bits... especially if you are considering buying a set. Then, when that “tough” drilling task drops into your lap, buy an individual high quality bit in the size you need.

Or, even better, two... just in case. (You can always return the extras!)


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