A Holiday Verse

It’s been a very busy December here at Floodco. We’ve been appreciating the opportunities to restore comfort and normalcy to so many customers’ homes and businesses. This month and throughout 2013 we made so many new friends and appreciate the chance to serve every one.

A short verse for our many friends.

‘Twas barely a week before Christmas and all through the Flathead                             Temps were diving in everyone’s homestead.

Pipes began bursting from Eureka to Polson,                                                           From Libby to the Swan our technicians were rushin’.

Dealing with water, smoke and slime.                                                                      Never a complaint about excess overtime.

By Christmas, maybe New Year’s these superheroes will again be napping,                     While all around their customers in dry homes warmly are clapping.

Happy Holidays and Thank You to All!

May Your Days Be Merry But Calm!

peace image

Posted by Lloy December 26 under holidays, Chrismas, appreciation

Scents and Sensitivity –Become What You Smell This Season.

This holiday season is one long parade of fragrances, together with sights and sounds. So much of the emotional allure of the holidays is already stored deep in our brain. Packed long ago but ready to embark on this annual sentimental journey back to safe and happy times.  Our noses lead us like an unleashed dog in a city park, back and forth over time, retracing our celebratory steps since childhood.

Fragrance lights up an innate mechanism that lives inside us all. We’ve been here before and our nose returns us to that moment. Attentive retailers and realtors know how to strum and excite our brains through our noses. We are vulnerable because our sense of smell (and taste) is wired directly into the core of our brains. Smell receptor cells extend directly into the highly organized olfactory bulb, where information about every odor experience gets processed and associated.

The olfactory senses are part of the limbic system within the brain which controls our emotions, emotional responses, mood, motivation, pain and pleasure sensations. At a basic level, we are what we experience through taste and smell.

Think about the unique smells and aromas you encounter when walking into: 

  • A coffee shop
  • The hardware store
  • A leather, tack or western wear shop.
Tack shop and leather goods

Tack shop and leather goods

  • High school basketball game
  • Movie theatre
  • A chocolate store
  • Les Schwab or another tire store

Remember Grandma’s house? Her kitchen at Christmas or Thanksgiving? So much of our memory is keyed to the smell of the place. As a high school and then college student in Missoula I walked most mornings past the old Eddy’s Bakery near Hellgate High School. Within many blocks of Eddy’s on any morning the smell of baking bread permeated the neighborhood. Eddy's breadSimilarly the smell of my copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses still takes me back to the bookstore in Ireland where I purchased it in 1976. The smell of Pledge furniture polish was proof that my mother’s house was really cleaned and company was coming for dinner.

Want to be immediately engaged with the emotions of your guests to your home or business? Fragrance scientists and merchandising consultants know that people respond immediately, both physically and mentally, to certain fragrances in their surroundings. Citrus clean is a more positive smell than Clorox fresh. Cloves and cinnamon in apple cider at the rear of the gift shop creates hospitality with a capital ‘H’. The chosen store fragrance is a subliminal ‘branding’ strategy for many successful retailers.

A Realtor wanting to sell a home will advise that the owner bake bread or pie or cookies before a showing. This tactic will only be effective once the negative smells of smoking, mold, burned garlic, and pets have been vanquished. Prospective buyers react predictively to negative odors and will emotionally and physically flee a home where their nose detects even a hint of some offensive, stale smell. Even fresh chocolate chip cookie won’t cover moldy/musty basement carpet. Deep clean all surfaces, ventilate and then bake pie for the warmest possible impact on a prospective home buyer.

The senses of smell and taste evolved as a primary defense mechanism. Foul smelling, rancid or rotting food was deemed by the animal nose as not fit to put in the mouth. (My golden retrievers apparently missed this evolutionary memo.) Intuitively we react to bad smells more quickly than good smells. Yet we turn off the awareness of a bad smell more quickly than a good smell. It is the high concentration of a bad smell that again alerts us. The smell of skunk can be detected for miles. A smoker in the car that just passed on the street leaves a trail for the sensitive non-smoker’s nose.

Once a strong smell is factored as ‘safe’ by the mind, we relax our defenses. Bad smells are like recurring alarm sirens in the limbic system of the brain. ‘Beware’ they warn our conscious and subconscious. There is a local restaurant where I cannot be comfortable, because the chemical smell of toilet sanitizer seeps out into their dining area. Their food then inevitably tastes of clean urinal. Too much of an overpowering ‘safe’ chemically sweet or floral scent is obviously not a good thing for a store’s branding effort.

When that fresh tangerine-like smell of a balsam fir in your insurance agent’s office reminds you of your first trip with dad to cut the family tree, just go with it. Let the memory flow when it takes you back to good, safe and happy places. Seek and create new holiday scent memories this season and then randomly return there for the rest of your life. One delicious aroma presented you by a wonderful new or olde recipe, new wine varietal or candle scent will stay with you longer than any of the gifts under your tree.

Do you have a favorite ‘fragrance memory’? Please take a moment to share it with us in the response line below. We may share our readers’ recollections in a future holiday post.

Happy and Safe Holidays from the staff of Floodco LLC!

Whoa, What a Cold Response!

We saw good feedback on last week’s winter safety tips post. It seems folks want to do prudent things to protect themselves and property from dangerously cold arctic weather. We subsequently received a surprisingly large volume of phone calls for urgent flood cleanup and repair of water damage from frozen pipes. Proof that many NW Montana residents still aren’t adequately prepared to protect their families, homes and businesses from sustained subzero temperatures.

While briefly pausing to sympathize with a bell ringer for the Salvation Army outside the grocery store last week, I asked if he still had warm feet and hands in the minus 30 windchill. He smiled and told me that his heated socks were working OK but fingers were numb. His exposed face was a concern as cheeks were turning white. Fortunately, he said only 2 hours remained on the shift. bell ringer

Everyone has had a dangerous experience with cold weather at some point in their lives. I’ll never forget my first brutal winter after moving to Minnesota. The entire month of December saw double digits below zero with impossible wind chills of minus 50, minus 60 and worse. Renting a newly built apartment without the exterior siding installed was a serious mistake. Multiple blankets and sleeping bags were not enough when the fierce wind and snow pierced the sheathing and insulation and blew throughout the apartment. The baseboard heat could not keep up, so after work we hunkered down in a local tavern or stayed with new and generous friends. Still can’t watch a Vikings football game 30 years later without recalling that first frigid ‘Minne-Snow-ta’ winter. The old red VW bug without a working heater or defrost is another painful winter memory from that time.

What are your coldest weather experiences?

Please take a few moments and tell us about your sharpest or painful winter memory. That time you got seriously lost in a snow storm. Or the pipes froze and broke. Maybe you had to walk 14 miles one way to school during the blizzard of the century. fish house pic

Whatever your memory between childhood or yesterday, proud or embarrassing, we would like to collect and share it. Also tell us what was learned by surviving your winter adventure so others might avoid that freezing predicament. (Include your name and address. We’ll send you a warm and useful gift.)

Please use the response blank below or email to: office@floodco.net.                             Mail works fine, also.

Floodco LLC   PO Box 4747   Whitefish, MT  59937

Winter Weather Advisory

  • Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is entering the area.
  • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.                                                                                                                                                                                                              These advisories from the National Weather Service should be taken very seriously.They are not sent out for practice. This winter weather event is real and has potential to kill the foolish or unprepared. So, are you adequately prepared? Winter weather exposures lead to injuries and deaths each year in Montana and the region. At home or on the road, people who should know better do foolish things and unnecessarily expose themselves and family, risking disaster. Listen to weather warnings,  prepare your home and car and be aware of the risks. A lengthy power failure or getting stuck outside in subzero cold can escalate to a life threatening situation really quickly.                                                                                               The Checklist below courtesy of Centers for Disease Control.
  • http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/supplylists.aspcar survival kit

Food and Safety Checklist

Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies at home. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand.

  • Drinking water
  • Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)
  • Prescription drugs and other medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
    (To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.)

Water Checklist

Keep a water supply. Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes break.

  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
  • Keep the indoor temperature warm.
  • Allow more heated air near pipes. Open kitchen cabinet doors under the kitchen sink.
  • If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Thaw the pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer.
  • If you cannot thaw your pipes, or if the pipes have broken open, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home.
  • Have bottled water on hand.
  • In an emergency—if no other water is available—snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Heating Checklist

  • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
    • Fireplace with plenty of dry firewood or gas fired stove
    • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Use electric space heaters with
    • automatic shut-off switches and
    • nonglowing elements.
  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Have the following safety equipment:
    • Chemical fire extinguisher
    • Smoke alarm in working order (Check once a month and change batteries once a year.)
    • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Never use a charcoal grill or electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
    • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
    • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
    • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.

Cooking and Lighting Checklist

  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors—the fumes are deadly.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.
  • Avoid using candles.
  • Never leave lit candles alone.

Car and Emergency Checklist

  • Full tank of gas
  • Cell phone; portable charger or inverter and extra battery
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Water
  • Snack food -plentiful and high energy
  • Extra hats, coats, mittens
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)
  • Road salt and sand
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Bright colored flag; help signs
  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Road maps
  • Compass
  • Waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)
  • Paper towels                                                                                                                   Be well prepared for safety, comfort and peace of mind. Avoid any unnecessary travel during these winter weather events. Keep a sober, level head. Remain sheltered at all times.