Establishing a web presence

Even if your business may be small, and you don’t want or need to have an online store, it is still a great idea to have a website for your business. Establishing a web presence is, at the very least, a wonderful marketing tool.  But there are other benefits as well. Here are 5 ways that a website can benefit your business, no matter its size.

  1. Exposure: Being on the Web allows your business to have exposure around the globe. With an estimated 50 million people online at any given time, that’s nothing to scoff at. Your local newspaper or yellow pages ad isn’t going to give you that kind of exposure…and for a lot less money.
  2. Branding: Your brand is the name or symbol that identifies your company and sets it apart from your competition. A strong company brand keeps your company’s image in the mind of your potential customers; it’s also one that will be recognized and remembered, even if they don’t yet know about your product or services. Getting your brand on the web will help it do its job as a symbol of your company’s Quality, Experience, and Reliability.
  3. Professionalism: Having worked with a Minneapolis water and sewer website on their presentation and delivery of their social media profiles, we achieved a 100% increase in user-engagement. This coupled with website conversions. especially one that is done well, can increase your company’s professional reputation. And this can instill a great sense of customer confidence.
  4. Communication: A website is a great means of communicating with not only colleagues and other business resources, but also with customers and potential customers. You can provide a lot of information on your website that would be much more costly in an expensive newspaper ad. You can also use the website as a means of email communication, which could free up a lot of time you might otherwise spend on the phone answering the same questions over and over.
  5. Marketing: Your website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing you with the means to promote and market yourself and your services, even while you sleep! But when you are awake, you can also be proactive in your marketing approach, by posting articles to your website, participating in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, by posting specials or coupons on your site, by blogging, or any number of other avenues for marketing on the Web.

So right there you have five great reasons to get online and begin to establish your presence on the World Wide Web. Make sure you expose yourself, brand it and market it!

Wooden Signage: The Best of them

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In homes, when making signs, the manufacturer has a very wide choice of materials used alone or in combination. The paper-raw aluminum, anodized-galvanized steel, lacquered-copper-bronze-stone-vinyl-polyvinyl chloride (PVC), most commonly expanded – solid wood, chipboard, plywood, Polystyrene (unexpanded) – alveolar polypropylene – laminate – enamelled lava – composites (aluminum + bakelite, etc. …) – stone – concrete, among others. Indeed, the range is enormous. Nonetheless, over time, wood has proven to offer fashion, elegance and contemporary look to the home signage.

To make a choice it is necessary to distinguish the material used for the support and for the visual itself. More often than not, when it comes to wood signs, the same material serves the same purpose. The supporting elements must have characteristics of resistance, according to its implantation, resistance to vandalism, but also to make itself as discreet as possible and have a good hold over time.

If the longevity of stone, concrete and metals is proven, the wood is not without posing some problems sometimes badly evaluated (deformation, cracks, twist, change of aspect due to lack of maintenance …). For this reason, it is preferable to use wood treated in an autoclave with fungicidal products which make it possible to keep a gray-green appearance constant during a good ten years. This is however only for outdoors, within homes, the longevity is extremely guaranteed.

Beyond its technical qualities, the choice of supporting materials must take into account the landscape characteristics of the site of implantation (mineral, forest, little or no artificial …). For the visual. The marking surface panel (text and drawing) must be resistant to ultraviolet rays, abrasion (scratches) or natural (dust, sand) and can be cleaned without damaging the colors in case of tags.

It must have a low coefficient of deformation in order to withstand the sometimes extreme temperature changes which cause dilatations and shrinkage, which aggravate the structure of the material itself, as well as inks, pigments and other adhesive lettering.

Make your choice

The wood for house structures has proved its longevity for nearly two centuries. It is a high-end material, quite expensive and heavy that requires careful implementation and is not self-supporting. The enameled lava plates, which are fairly brittle, must be secured on their entire surface to a stable support. No constraint for quantities ordered.

The exterior laminate is made up of as many paper layers coated with phenolic resin that are needed to thickness the finished product. The last layer of paper that remains visible is printed either in silkscreen printing or with inkjet systems whose secret is jealously guarded by the manufacturers. The main difficulty lies in the fixing of pigments for good UV resistance. The assembly is pressed at high temperature, resulting in a compact, dense material with a sober and elegant appearance. This self-supporting material only needs an anchor on the floor or can easily be fixed on walls. It is not sensitive to temperature fluctuations and does not like moist tropical atmospheres (molds, dilation).

The lack of recoil does not yet make it possible to validate without fail a decennial guarantee of colors in inkjet printing, but this material has characteristics that designate it as a material of the future. The lifetime of a panel can also be limited voluntarily; it then becomes a criterion of choice that will direct towards cheaper materials.  The wood, structured as a packing board, is often used for temporary markings of one day, one week. Very lightweight, it can also be marked with a felt as well as adhesive vinyl letters for a cost of way less. In essence, when used for house signs, wood is a super-material.

Clean 30 starts now

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Health

Clean30 Starts….. NOW. Well, technically this morning but you get the point. In case you missed my post about the Clean 30, my box is doing round 3 of 30 days of strict paleo. Its meant to show you how good eating clean can make you feel, look,  and how much it can improve your fitness… also…the most important part its a competition. You get points for different achievements (attending CF WOD is 2 points, working out outside CF 1 point, totally clean meal 2 points, a day with no no alcohol 1 point, 7+ hours of sleep 1 point so on and so on) and you keep track of them on a nifty little scorecard they give you.

You also do three benchmarks WODS on day one and then again on day 30 to see how much you progressed. You get points for your progression as well.  You are placed on a team, with a coach who sends you encouraging emails and helps you throughout the process.  In the end there is an individual winner and a team winner. But really, in the end,  aren’t we all winners?… awww…

ANYWAY, todays dinner: Mustard Chicken Thighs, cooked spinach, cooked carrots and mashed cauliflower. The entire dinner for 2 and leftovers took me all of 15 minutes to prep and a total cook time of less than 30 min. So easy.

Mustard Chicken Thighs

2lbs chicken thighs

1/4 cup melted butter/ghee

2 tablespoons mustard

pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in microwave, takes about 10 seconds.

2. Mix butter and dijon mustard and pepper.

3. Spread on chicken thighs

4. Cook in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done.

5. Go spend the rest of your night relaxing because dinner took no time at all to make.

For the spinach I placed raw spinach leaves in a saucepan with a bit of water, garlic powder, butter and salt. Cooked on medium for about 10 minutes.

Cauliflower Steamed in a pot until soft, mixed in nutribullet with butter and salt.

Carrots steamed for about 20 minutes and squeezed orange juice on top.

IF YOU DONT LIKE COOKING and still want delicious gourmet paleo meals for $12.40 a meal check out my last post on Caveman Cafeterias meal delivery. They are offering $50 off a month of delicious and nutritious meals if you use the promo code WoodenHouseSigns.co.uk

Handstands, powder and green chicken

Although I’m not the biggest football fan, its hard to walk around today seeing the sad faces of all the Broncos fans whose dreams were shattered by yesterdays game. Like a lot of people, I watch the game just so I have something to talk about with coworkers and for the commercials. I thought last nights commercials were pretty decent, minus the random Maserati one and the annoying bud light one. My favorite was the Budweiser puppy/horse one because I’m a sucker for emotional animals. Remember that happy elephant video that literally made me cry? Yah, it was around that level.

 

Prior to the game, I went to a WOD and stayed after to conquer my fear of doing handstands. Two weeks ago they made my stomach drop and tears come to my eyes, but this weekend I made some major progress.

 

Hand Stand Push Ups here I come! Just kidding, that might take a bit while to accomplish but being able to do a handstand is the first step! Just gotta work on keeping my feet together.

On Saturday I went up to the mountains with my boyfriend and our friend from CF because there was some ridiculous storm that dumped over 24 inches of snow, which is about waist level. I know this because I tried to walk on what I thought was solid ground in an attempt to sneak into the words to, um, relieve myself and fell in past my waist. Snow down my pants, not so fun.

I had never snowboarded in real powder and it was a lot of fun. We went to the side of the mountain that isnt groomed, so there were lots of bumps which was a bit rough for someone with not so much experience like me. At least when I fell it was like falling on a cold, damp cloud.

On Thursday my coworker had brought in some Green Chicken that she had made from a NomNomPaleo recipe. It was so good that I decided I had to recreate it myself Friday night. Its supposed to be grilled, but (a) it was snowing and (b) I guess more importantly, I dont own a grill. So I baked it. It was still delicious. I added some cabbage and beets that I had cooked in water/apple cider vinegar mixture (also courtesy of my coworker). I love cabbage cooked this way and thought it was also amazing.

Do you even Crossfit?

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Health

I have gained twenty pounds since I moved to Colorado three years ago. 2-0. The weight of a small child has slathered itself across my body. Id like to say its all muscle, but its not. When I moved here I was partying too much, eating too little, all while running a ton of mileage while training for half marathons.

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

When I got my mind right and healthy eating on track, my body put on more than just muscle to reach its happy place. Unfortunately, it took some time for me to be okay with that happy place. When there is no mirror in front of me and I’m doing something Id proud of, like CrossFit, I feel like I’m the baddest thing to walk this earth. Most days I can look in the mirror and be more than happy with what I see. But some times that urge to step on the scale overpowers me and, when I do, it shatters that confident image of myself

I was talking to some girls at my box a couple weeks ago about how crazy it is how those little numbers on a screen can make or break you day. No matter how much I preach, and usually tend to believe, that you should value performance over looks, its hard not to have a little part of you that still wants to be at that magical number that you have in your head that is your thin/sexy/hot/goal weight. I went out to dinner a couple weeks ago with my non CrossFit friend and she was telling me about her struggles to loose weight. She told me that no matter what, her body just stays at her current weight. I told her it had probably just reached a healthy homeostasis and she said Yeah, probably…. I just wish my natural weight were 5 pounds lighter. What is it about NUMBERS that can drive us crazy? She is absolutely gorgeous, but somehow 5 lbs that no one else would notice is the difference between a good body and a bad body.

I was talking (well, annoyingly whining) to my boyfriend about how I felt big the other day and he told me I need to delete all my Instagram fitness accounts because they are giving me unrealistic expectations of what girls should look like. I know this, I wrote a blog post about this, but I still tried to justify it with No, it doesn’t, it motivates me to work out. He responded No, it makes you feel bad and guilty about yourself, so you go to work out. He then proceeded to give me a long talk about valuing performance over looks, that society has constructed the idea that women shouldn’t have muscle but there is nothing sexier than a girl busting her ass to give it her all (Hes pretty great, huh?::sigh::). He then made me read the article I became awesome, not skinny, which every female athlete should read.

So I deleted all the instagram fitness accounts I followed, but I still couldn’t get out of my funk. That is, until this past weekend at the Tuff Luv CrossFit Competition. I was suddenly surrounded by some bad ass women, in all shapes and sizes, with no make up, hair in messy ponytails with enough confidence to fill a football stadium. I was overwhelmed with love for the human body and what it can do. I was reminded, once again, of my goals, which don’t involve dieting back down to a size 2. If my body is making gains and lifting heavier weight at this size, then this is the size that I need to be. Because, in the end, being able to clean and jerk 195lb like the woman did this weekend is gonna make me a hell of a lot more ecstatic and memorable than fitting in to my old jeans.

Fashion Alert

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As summer is fast approaching, every fashion lover at heart must be prepared for the season! It is only normal for everyone to be rushing for a change in wardrobe. Whether it is wearing a deconstructed t-shirt or buying a new pair of trendy sandals, you should be ready to go all out this summer. A change of style is exactly what you need to stand out from the crowd. Here are top 7 dressing tips that will help you to look chic under the hot weather:

Redesign your clothes

If your closet is full and you are contemplating getting rid of certain clothing items, you can put all your extras to good use by redesigning them. A brilliant tailor can easily transform garments, making them look totally different. For instance, pants can be turned into shorts and a free-flowing skirt can be transformed into a mini-skirt. A little redesigning goes a long way. You will end up with a trendy and comfortable outfit that can be worn all summer. You do not have to go out on a shopping spree in order to look stylish, make the most of what you already have.

Get used to sandals

Summer weather will force you to forget about tights and stockings. There is nothing more liberating to your feet than wearing naked, strappy sandals. I love Birkenstock’s and have at least 5 pairs of the same style. Go for sandals that are totally flat, open-toed and sturdy because they will make it easy for you to get from one point to another, and will not impose any unnecessary pressure on your feet. It is important not to wear open-toe sandals with chipped nail varnish. Remember that grooming your feet is also a priority. After all, first impressions are everything.

Go for natural fabrics

While synthetic fibers trap heat, natural fibers breathe. Contrary to popular belief, cotton and silk are perfect fabrics for the summer. The materials are better at absorbing sweat and dry faster. As such, you will not feel sweaty as you go about with your busy day. Linen is also a good fabric option that will let you remain cool and trendy during the day.

Wear fitted t-shirts and loose pants

Summer is a time for more body conscious dressing. Therefore, you should stop wearing those unflattering baggy t-shirts and opt for a more fitted look. This will ensure that you are stylish and comfortable. A fitted top should be paired with loose pants. This is a fashion-forward look that works for the both the day and night. Most importantly, you will be able to properly breathe. Avoid wearing outfits that have any kind of lining. They will make you feel like you are walking inside a hot bathtub.

If you must wear closed shoes, wear socks

Sandals are a logical way to stay cool during summertime but this does not mean that everyone is comfortable is sandals. Whenever you wear closed shoes, pair them with socks to ensure that your feet remain cool and clean. Socks easily absorb sweat. As the feet has more sweat glands than any other body part, you will be able to enjoy a good level of freshness even under the hot sun.

Wear decent shorts

Ultra short shorts are not flattering on any figure, even in the summer. Settle for shorts that hover above the knee as they are of a more flattering length. Due to the humid atmosphere, try a looser fit than you would ordinarily wear. Always keep shorts as a casual look. Never wear them to the office.

Leave your backpack at home and carry a small cross-body sling purse

It is highly uncomfortable to be carrying a big backpack that is stuck to your back, making you sweat all through the day. Instead, take this opportunity to get back to basics. Carry only necessities around and avoid exerting yourself. A small cross-body purse will get the job done.

When temperatures are rising, your style should not plummet. With these tips, you will always look your best every summer day. While you will be most comfortable in loose bottoms and fitting tops, you can still transform your style for the better. Summer weather may be hot but ensure that you are always dressed for the occasion.

 

A swimming workout for you to try

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Sport

Yesterday I was supposed to get a long run in, but my legs were so sore that I decided to do a pool workout. Swimming always helps to stretch out my muscles and get some cardio in, without the hard impact of running. After work I went to the CU Pool to do some laps. The CU swim team was practicing at the same time, so it added in some extra motivation (and also made me really conscious of my form and how much worse its gotten since my USS days.) My workout contained a lot of backstroke, as I wanted to stretch out my chest and lats a little. Its not a huge amount of yardage, but enough for someone who just wants to swim for some cross training.

SWIMMING WORKOUT #2

WARMUP:

200 Yd. Freestyle

100 Yd. Free Kick

200 Yd. Backstroke

100 Yd. Back Kick

WORKOUT:

3 *100 IM Order (no free)  (50 Swim, 50 Kick)

2 Rounds:

3 *100 Backstroke for time (1st 100 1:45, 2nd 100 1:30, 3rd 100 1:20)

4*50 Alternate Free/Back 40 seconds each.

200 Lung Buster

(50 yds breathe every 3 strokes, 50 yds breathe every 5, 50 breathe every 7, 25 breathe every 9, 25 yds 1 breathe)

100 Warmdown

After my workout I was walking back to the locker rooms with my bag, looking at my instagram on my phone and walked into what I thought was the girls room. I took about 4 steps in before I looked up from my phone and saw a bunch of guys in different stages of undress staring at me. Turns out I had wandered into the guys locker room and the swim team was in there changing after practice. I muttered an awkward Oh, this is the mens room and walked out to the sound of guys cracking up. Whooopsiesss. Hopefully it just provided a good story and no one was actually offended.

As always, I remembered how much I love swimming. The silence of the water makes you really tune in to yourself and the way your body is moving. It also provides a good time to reflect on the day and any work problems I have going on. I think I might incorporate it weekly into my workouts, to help relieve my muscles while still working on my cardio. Gotta love swimming!

Skinning the cat

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Health

I find gymnastics torturous. I was never one of the little kids on the playground swinging from rings or doing handstands and cartwheels. I liked the swings. Nice and simple and completed while sitting on my butt. Starting today, every Wednesdays strength class will be devoted to work on CrossFit Gymnastics movements. These include handstand walks, pull ups, muscle ups, dips, rope climbs and L-Sits. I was dreading going in today because I find those movements so incredibly hard. They require a lot of upper body strength and perfect movement patterns. I also have a ridiculously strong fear of kicking up into a handstand. So much so today that when it came to that part of the workout today I nearly burst into tears when my coach told me I had to do it. We worked slowly with him grabbing one of my feet and holding it in the handstand position for 15 seconds. After about 10 minutes I was able to kick up into one on my own. But the excitement from this was short lived, as we next started to work on skin the cat.

This awkward movement requires a lot of core and shoulder strength as you start hanging from rings, bringing your legs up until you are straight up and down with your feet in the air and head towards the ground, then continue to bring your legs around so that your shoulders are twisted behind you… and then you flip back around. I had to do them with a little jump off the ground to get me going and I found it very difficult, once I had made it around once, to come back around again. Add it to the endless list of things to work on.

Next it was on to muscle ups, which was kinda a joke as I cant even do kipping pull ups yet. I practiced my kip glide as I watched the guys (I was the only girl today) land muscle up after muscle up. A part of me couldnt help but feel really lame just sitting there swinging back and forth like an idiot. But, nothing comes without some practice so I just keep swinging along and practicing my kips.

This evening I went back for the regular WOD, since it had the second benchmark workout for the Clean 30 Challenge. It was 3  * 2 min AMRAPs of Pull ups, Push ups and Sit ups back to back. Cant wait to see how much I profess over the next 30 days!

For my Clean30 dinner today I made Kalua Pulled Pork, sweet potatoes with bacon and broccoli.  I cooked the sweet potatoes by skinning them, cutting them into strips, placing some bacon on them and cooking them in the oven. It makes them have a hint of bacon deliciousness.

I might need to get a new pan…

Hiking a 14-er in colorado

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adventure

On Sunday I decided to go climb the second highest peak in the lower 48 states. A looming 14,443 feet, complete with snow, strong winds, and about a 24 degree temperature. Oh, and that nasty little thing called altitude sickness that decided to tag along for the ride. To say this was one of the mentally toughest physical activities to get through was an understatement. I have never before in my life thought I could not physically finish something until this adventure. But, lets start at the beginning.

My friend from training (who I went paddle boarding with) and two of my friends from Denver decided it would be a tough challenge to go hike a 14er (Colorado speak for mountains over 14,000ft) at the end of September, when it had already snowed up there. We thought it would be badass. And it was. Maybe a bit too badass for me. The hike was 9.2 miles round trip, with a 4,700 foot elevation gain. The 30-45 minutes were in the forest and, while steep, I could still catch my breathe through the panting. We emerged from the woods to see this:

See those peaks? yeah, we had to go over those to get to one further on that we were going to. I definitely didnt realize when I signed on that the hike would be this long, but I was still excited at this point. So, we trudged on. Once we got past that second tree line the wind picked up. Hard. And it did not stop. It was so strong and so cold that when it hit you head on it literally knocked your breathe out of you. Multiple times I felt like I was suffocating and had to turn my back to take some breathes. This may sound dramatic, but it was 100% real for me. I am VERY sensitive to altitude. For the first couple weeks after I moved to Boulder I would get winded walking up stairs, went to bed by 9:30 because I was so exhausted and would get major headaches.

But we kept going, with my companions being very kind and taking frequent breaks when I needed them to turn my oxygen deprive hyperventilating back to normal panting.

Photo Credit Kristin Burkholder

Around 12,500ft I started feeling nauseous. We stopped to eat and I forced myself to take a bite of a Lara bar, but my mouth would not physically chew it. I ended up spitting it out and just drinking lots of water. If I ever do something like this again, I will definitely bring chicken broth so that I can drink my nutrition and have it heat me up. A couple passed us and we asked, pointing at a peak above us, if that was the summit. The woman shook her head and said that was a fake summit (one that appears to be the top, but is followed by others behind it) and that there were 3-4 more fake summits to go.

The guy saw the look on my face at this point and said Just go 10 more steps. Anyone can do 10 more steps. Then, try to do another 10. I literally repeated this in my head the whole rest of the way.

Photo Credit Kristin Burkholder

We got to 14,000 feet, with only 400 feet more and I nearly quit. I stopped, sat on the ground, trying to stop my head from spinning and resisting the urge to start dry heaving. I had a conversation with myself in my head about how I was feeling crappy now, but that in about 6 hours I would be home in bed, cuddled up with my dog,  feeling perfectly healthy and would be super pissed off at myself if I had not gone to the top. This was only temporary. With some encouragement from my friends, one of whom was also not feeling so hot at this point, I kept going. And Im glad I did, because the view at the top was unbelievable. Just like everyone had promised.

Im pretty sure we only stayed up there about 5 minutes, as it was sub 24 degrees and super windy. Just long enough to snap some pictures and start back down.

The hike down was really fun for me. Going down fake summits is far more fun than going up them, complete with sliding on the ice/snow (as my friend did, on her butt, for a good portion of the way. She had also had some Fireball at the top, which probably made it even more delightful for her <3 ). With each little bit I felt better and better, and by the time we reached the trees again I was back to myself. And starving.

Overall, I am still very happy I did it. It was definitely a rush. I don’t think I could have done it without the support of my friends, talking me through it and being willing to stop whenever I needed to. I’m already planning to do another one next year with the same people though maybe we will go a bit earlier, so as to avoid the snow and the super cold wind.

On the drive back home my friend asked why people climb 14ers. A lot of people respond with because they are there. My friend said because it reminds her that the world is far more beautiful than her everyday life. While valid, thats not my reason. There are hikes that are just as physically challenging, as far as steepness, that are at much lower elevation and would provide a great workout and time spent in beautiful nature. For me, the reason I have done 14ers is because its good to challenge yourself mentally like that sometimes, to push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of in a situation where you cant just slow down or stop to make it easier (like on a run). Obviously, do that within a safe limit, with the ultimate ability to leave (turn around and walk down) if you really need to.

But sometimes, you need to have that inner battle with yourself to see what you are capable of overcoming.

Hope you all had a great weekend, filled with fun, laughs and love.

The unwritten rules of using a public toilet

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The public toilet. A place (unless you’re a sexual deviant) one only visits out of pure necessity. We’ve all been there, and on some occasions even humiliatingly paid for the privilege. Indeed, it’s only social etiquette and strict public decency laws which prevent me from relieving myself inconspicuously in a bush – something infinitely preferable to using most public toilets.

Defining a public toilet, especially in the context of this article, is not especially simple. In any event, I would class a public toilet simply as one which is not in a dwelling. In my humble opinion, anything else can safely be classed as a public toilet: the work cubicle, the beautifully clean hotel toilet with the West African attendant I’m obliged to tip or the gruesome football stadium toilet etc.

What I say now is based on and inspired by a lifetime of using public toilets. Despite the mildly crude subject matter, I feel it necessary to write about this subject. I draw upon harrowing and surprisingly positive experiences to set out what I feel are 9 important rules to consider when using a public toilet:

1. Wash your hands!

The fact I even have to write this is genuinely mournful. I would be furious if I saw a small child use a toilet to then unashamedly walk out without washing their hands. I despair when I see or (on some occasions in a cubicle) hear adults fail to wash their hands. In an age where we can cure cancer or even communicate with celebrities if we use 140 characters, I’m amazed that people cannot comprehend the dangers faced when hands are not washed. Despairingly, in my own office, grown, educated men seem to think it’s ok to leave a toilet with unwashed hands. It’s this same hand that might tap me on the back, shake my hand or pass me a sandwich – which my pathetically socially compliant self would probably eat!

Put bluntly, this lack of cleanliness leads people to a life of illness and OCD. I now find I’m clinically over-utilising that probably ineffective hand sanitizer and watching vigilantly where hands have been. To put it starkly, a day in the life of a savage using a public toilet: he goes to toilet for a piss, or in extreme cases a dump. He touches his sweaty penis, probably scratches. (Hopefully) he will wipe his arse well if he goes for a dump. He opens the door (now infected) with his hand and leaves the toilet. The repulsive hand is now exposed to the world. Surely you can see how wrong this is?

Just wash your fucking hands. It’s that simple. I’m not even talking a deep scrub here.

Two businessmen using the bathroom

2. No small talk

Small talk at the best of times is one of life’s more unpleasant experiences. It’s a wasteful social interaction of no consequence and plainly avoidable at all costs. When we go to the toilet however, small talk is actively encouraged! I fail to see how a germ infested stinking toilet is conducive to any conversation whatsoever, let alone small talk.

I go to the toilet to expel waste from my system, perhaps to browse my phone. I’m certainly not there to talk. In an effort to avoid such awkward moments at work, I’ve been known to wait for somebody to finish up and leave before opening my cubicle, giving me a small window to wash up and get out. Some might say these are the actions of a coward. I’d reply that this is manifestly sensible self-preservation. Despite these admirable tactics, nothing can prepare you for that door opening when you’re in the middle of washing your hands, and then regrettably taking part in a hopelessly stilted conversation – the smell which is blatantly yours lingering in the air, and the person you’re talking to trying to hide the fact they’re holding their breath and could dry heave at any moment.

Shamefully, in my hypocritical moments I engage (and have engaged) in such staggeringly inappropriate conversation. The conversation usually goes “are you busy?” “yeah, you?” (at work); or “quality night isn’t it?” “yeah, you having a good night?” (in a bar/pub/club). No added value that I can see. Obviously, I deeply dislike ignoring anybody whatever the surroundings as I’m not a boorish socially inept hermit, but surely a simple nod of acknowledgment will suffice?

3. Don’t talk on the phone

This is just plain rude. If I’m in/on the toilet, I don’t want to be drawn into your conversation – which I will be, the nosy person I am. Please just wait until you’re done so that you can carry on the administrative conversation with your wife about whether she should cook fish or chicken pie for dinner. Also bear in mind that talking on the phone while ‘on’ the toilet, although funny, is a selfish crime and one the echo on the other end of the line doesn’t let you get away with.

4. If possible, use an air freshener

Everybody’s shit stinks, yet a surprising number of people think that this reality doesn’t apply to them. Some of the worrying smells I have encountered and created – pretty despicable stuff in all honesty! Do everyone a favour (if possible) and mask the nauseating smell with some cheap air freshener.

5. If necessary flush twice (or however many times it takes for the ‘end product’ to disappear)

The flush on most public toilets are terrible. This means that attentiveness is required after the event. Negligence in this area will mean you leave an unwelcome gift for the unfortunate victim.

6. Use the brush

It’s not hard. One of the rules of life: leave something in the state you expect to find it in yourself. This rule is particularly important because if you get your timing wrong and fail to brush, the next user of the toilet who sees you leaving knows you are capable of truly abhorrent behaviour. Even more important is the innocent victim, like me. I don’t want to brush away the excrement of another adult, so I usually leave the toilet in the horrifying state I found it in. If unlucky, this selfish yet reasonable decision can prove fatal to my upstanding status in the office as people, of course, naturally assume it was me who caused the initial crime scene! It’s not as if you can say “yeah, it wasn’t me”.

7. Don’t fart after the event

There are so many windows to release those gasses: at the urinal and the comfortable surroundings of the cubicle. Spend all the time you need in there and make sure you get it all out. Once you leave those appropriate surroundings it’s over – the window has closed! Despite this, people confusingly still fart at the sink or when drying their hands. It’s not ok.

8. No looking

While flattering that you feel you must look, all the looking in the world won’t change what you’ve got down there. Seriously though, looking at another man’s piece (again, if not a sexual deviant) is perhaps the most wildly inappropriate behaviour occurring in urinals all over the world. There’s really no need to look anywhere other than directly downwards at your own equipment.

9. Make sure you have wifi or network access

Especially at work as this is ‘our’ time. Those 20 or so minutes are precious and should be treated as such. Make sure you use this time wisely by exploiting that wifi or using the work blackberry (obviously not for work).