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Ask the Builder: Coronavirus, you and your home

Read to the end of this Ask the Builder column to understand this reference to a mousetrap. (Business Wire)
Read to the end of this Ask the Builder column to understand this reference to a mousetrap. (Business Wire)
By Tim Carter Tribune Content Agency

There’s not a doubt in my mind that you’ve been directly affected by the current health crisis that’s sweeping over the U.S. like some biblical plague. These are extraordinary times, and they call for extraordinary effort from many of us, me included.

Several years ago, I was involved in a discussion with a dear friend. We are polar opposites on political issues. I think the discussion had to do with giving things to people who are less fortunate. My friend said to me, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” She knew that God had blessed me with success with my building and media career. Her statement cut deep to the bone, but it rang true once I had cooled down.

Just because the economy has shut down for all intents and purposes, that doesn’t mean the structural and mechanical problems and challenges at your own home have stopped. In fact, you might be more desperate now than you were a month ago.

Perhaps you don’t want strangers coming to your house. I get that. The virus we’re all battling is invisible. People who have COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus, can infect other people before they show the telltale symptoms (if they ever show them at all).

Your challenge could be financial. So many are suffering. I get that. Just nine years ago, I had to face an incredible financial challenge of my own. I’m quite sensitive to this particular situation and understand the difficulty you might face.

God sent me a vision of how I might be able to help you long distance. He told me that I need to radically alter my schedule, work longer hours, and I need to step up to the plate to help you. He blessed me years ago with the ability to explain complex building issues in a way you can understand.

He also trained me on how to talk on the radio and in front of a camera. I did a two-hour live call-in radio show for 12 years, and I was the weekly home improvement expert on the ABC and NBC affiliates in Cincinnati. It’s time to brush off the dust from those past experiences to help you.

I’ve decided to devote at least two hours a day to calling homeowners all across the U.S. You might need to know how to do a simple repair. I can help get you started over the phone.

Because money is tighter than a banjo string right now, you can’t afford to buy something new, so you need to know how to protect what you have. I can help. Or if you are buying something, perhaps you want to know what the best product is so you don’t waste precious money.

In many cases, a simple quick phone call might help you. In others, I may have to record a short video with drawings I made all those years ago sitting at future customers’ dining room tables showing them how I was going to solve a particular issue when building their room addition or house.

The point is it’s time for me to try to share my knowledge far and wide. I intend to record each phone call, keeping your identity private. I’ll then upload the recording to my website so everyone with the same problem can listen and benefit.

Any video I do I’ll upload to my Ask the Builder YouTube channel so you can watch it.

I think this could help save tens of millions of dollars collectively and lessen your anxiety about issues you face with your home in these trying times.

I’ve created a form on my website that you need to fill out with information so I can do my best to help you. Remember: Your privacy is paramount. No one will know it’s you who’s asking for help.

If you want me to answer your questions, all you have to do is go to the form on my askthebuilder.com website. Here’s the URL: go.askthebuilder.com/callme.

I don’t yet know how many will respond. I don’t know how many problems a week I can solve. I do know that your problem might be shared by someone else, so, even though I don’t call you, a phone call or video I create for someone else might be all the help you require.

I’m wide open to ideas on how to make this work for you as the concept is not cast in stone. We can work together to refine how to transfer the knowledge. If you have a better mousetrap that will allow me to help more people faster, I’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe, and I pray each day that you’ll survive this crisis stronger than before.

Subscribe to Tim Carter’s free newsletter, and listen to his new podcasts at askthebuilder.com.

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