Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm on Vacation!

Please note that Charles the Butler is going to be resting July 19 through July 24, looking forward to more next week!

Cleaning Formulas


Since this morning we have had over one-hundred emails asking for the cleaning formulas from today's show, so here they are one more time!

Baking soda paste: 5 parts baking soda, one part water

All-purpose cleaner: 2 Tablespoons pH neutral soap (any dish soap) and +/- 4 cups of water

Household Disinfectant
: Pure white Vinegar (5% acidic level)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wedding Engagement Announcement Dilema

Question:
Hi!

Our daughter is getting married and we wanted to put a notice in the paper.

We figured we would say something like my husband and I (our names) are please to announce the engagement of our daughter (her name) to this young man (his name) of (where he is from), son of (naming his mom [who is not a widow]).......

And now here is the hard part............his mom was married before and divorced, then remarried another man who adopted him.....but later then divorced him as well.................what do I do with that. How do we mention the 2 fathers and their now wives..............or do we just not mention them at all. His natural father will likely be at the wedding but at this point I don't think his adoptive father will be able to make it. Any help will be very much appreciated.

Thanks,
Mrs. Taylor

Answer:
Dear Mrs. Taylor,

I have read your email numerous times and consulted both several books and called an expert I deal with in the United States on invitations. We are all in agreement that the wording and announcement should remain simple and based on the original parents.

You have neglected to give me all of the names of the participants below, so I have had to make some up to put the announcement sample together for you. I trust this helps and may your daughter be blessed with a wonderful wedding and a happy and healthy marriage. Please let us know how things turn out.

Mr. and Mrs. John Taylor announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Carol Jean Taylor, to Mr. Bob Henry Groom, son of Mrs. Betty Grooms Mother of Toronto, Ontario and Mr. Howard Grooms natural Father of Montreal, Quebec.

Miss. Carol Jean Taylor was graduated from Ryerson University and is a veterinarian at Forest Hill Animal Clinic in Toronto, Ontario. Mr. Bob Henry Groom was graduated from University of Toronto and is working with Air Canada, Toronto, Ontario.

With most sincere and kindest regards,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ending Dish Drama

Question:
My husband and I have argued about this since the day we got married. Can you please share with us the proper way to load a dishwasher?
Frustrated Housewife, Vancouver

Answer:
Dear Frustrated Housewife,
I know exactly what you're talking about! We had that same argument in my household when I was a kid, and it was only resolved when I became a Butler and learned the correct way! Here are nine golden rules that work no matter what type of dishwasher you have.

1. For the cleaning cycle to work correctly, water needs to be able to circulate around all of th dishes.
2. Overcrowding is the most common problem.
3. Rinse dishes before loading them.
4. Use racks for their intended purpose i.e. glassware on the top rack.
5. Items requiring more robust cleaning should be placed on the bottom rack.
6. Always use the the amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer.
7. Always use a rinse aid. This really does help keep the dishes spotless (no gimmick here, I promise!)
8. If your dishwasher has a salt dispenser check to see if you have hard or soft water in your area. The harder your water the increased chances that you will need salt in the dishwasher to avoid residue buildup.
9. If your dishwasher isn't full. don't run a full cycle. Run the 10-minute rinse cycle. This will rinse your dirty dishes and you can continue to fill the dishwasher until you have a full load.

How to Load the Dishwasher:
Loading dishes with room around them allows for the water to circulate and clean them.

How Not to Load the Dishwasher:
Overcrowding prevents the water from circulating around all of the dishes, a main reason for dirty dishes at the end of the cleaning cycle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Prepare yourself for the face-to-face job interview


Dear Charles,
I am about to embark on the most important interview of my business career and was wondering if you could provide some helpful tips for a successful interview.

Signed,
Shaking In My Boots

Dear Shaking In My Boots,
Congratulations on your upcoming interview. What a great opportunity. While each interview is always different — corporate culture and individual interview style play a big part — below are some tools I have used successfully.

1. Have a professional-looking resumé and bring multiple copies with you.
You may be asked to meet with several people or in front of a group. If this is the case, present each person at the table with a copy of your resumé.

2. Be ready to listen.
Often, when we get nervous, we don’t pay attention to what others are saying. Always focus on the person speaking, listen carefully and let them complete their question or statement. Only then should you respond.

3. When answering questions make sure to give examples.
Never answer a question like “Tell me about your keyboarding skills?” by simply saying, “They’re great.” Instead, demonstrate your skill level with good examples — “I can type 100 words a minute — with no errors. In fact, I used to prepare the management team’s weekly reports. They included confidential subject matter that was for management’s eyes only.”

4. Dress appropriately.
To do so, know the culture of the company you are interviewing for. If you are going to an interview at a conservative mutual fund company, dress in a suit and tie. If you are interviewing for a hip and cool guerrilla-marketing firm, dress in a professional manner that is consistent with the culture of the firm.

Remember, if you dress correctly you will feel comfortable and feeling comfortable will help you to interview successfully!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Removing Ink Stains from Cotton Clothing


Question:
My husband managed to stain his best shorts with pen ink. How do I get out the stain?
Laura, Victoria

Answer:
Hello Laura,
Good news - this is a relatively easy stain to remove. Pour a few capfuls of pure rubbing alcohol into a little dish. Now dip a clean cotton swab into the alcohol and slowly and gently rub it onto the alcohol and slowly and gently run it on the ink stain in a circular motion.

As the cotton swab starts to absorb the ink, change it for a clean one, Remember: be patient.

Non-removable ink stains will not come out, and please do test the fabric with the alcohol in a hidden area before you start working on the stain.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let The Summer Sun In

Question:
With summer finally here - I want to let the sunshine in! What's the best way to clean filthy windows outside?
Betty, Edmonton

Answer:
Dear Betty,
Firstly, you should remove any excess dirt and grime from the windows. Do this with a watering hose or a pail filled with lots of fresh clean water and a capful of dish soap. Once you have removed the surface dirt you are ready to clean the windows to a streak-free shine. Here are several options to consider:

1. A good commercial cleaner (with ammonia) and newspaper does a wonderful job.
2. A solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar is great! Spray this onto the window and then use either newspaper or microfiber cloth to wipe the window dry, thus avoiding streaks.
3. A pail fill of warm, clean water with a capful of dish soap will also do the job. Use a sponge to wash the window and then use a squeegee to leave the glass crystal clean.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thank You Notes Are A Must


Question:
I’m a second-time bride getting married the last week of July. I work full-time, will be going on a two-week honeymoon and have two children from a previous marriage to take care of full time. Based on the fact that everyone knows how busy I am, are people honestly expecting me to send thank you notes for their presents?
Carole, Nova Scotia

Answer:
Hello Carole:
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I know the answer to your question is one you don’t want to hear, but it’s "Yes." You do need to send everyone a thank-you note and here’s why:

1. People have gone to the trouble of spending time and money shopping for you — and they are just as busy as you.

2. It would be hurtful for guests who might think that your lack of communication means you don’t care or value them or their gift.

That said, don’t pressure yourself to write all of the notes at one time. Pace yourself. Send one or two per day, or 10 or so per weekend, and soon enough they will be done — I promise. As grandmother MacPherson taught me, you will never be criticized for sending a thank you note, but you will always be criticized for not sending one.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July to our American Friends


May this holiday be the start of a safe, happy and healthy summer to all of our American friends, thank you for all of your support. It is both a pleasure and honour working with you.

World's Worst Welcome Fruit Display & Hotel Room

This past weekend I stayed at what I was told, sold and payed, as a luxury hotel. I booked a suite which was the most expensive room category for this property. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and this was what they felt was appropriate for a welcome fruit amenity!

2 sad looking oranges
1 knife
2 paper cocktail napkins
2 bottles of water

Noticeably absent from the presentation, a tray holding the entire grouping, glasses for the water, ice bucket, cocktail napkins, two knives (one for each person), cloth napkins, better selection of fruit, or at least better quality oranges, plates for each person to eat on, small finger bowl with water to rinse your fingers and a personal note from the General Manager or Duty Manager welcoming you to the hotel.



But it gets better! The hotel room had not been vacuumed as the lint on the carpet and furniture told the story, but when we found a pair of children's pants under the chair in the front hall, this was the icing on the cake that the room really had not been cleaned! I have never been so disappointed.

As you know I often post wonderful things that I find here in hotels, to my knowledge I have never posted the negative, but in this case I was so surprised by this display, I just can't help myself, and needed to share this with everyone. This disappointment could so easily have be avoided with the attention to detail and mandate from the General Manager and the Executive Housekeeper about training. To be honest I expect greatness from people and hotels, and I have absolutely no room for mediocrity!