Basement Businesses

So, you want to be your own boss. And you figure a business in your basement is a good way to set up something to be a boss of. Trouble is, you'll probably end up with more bosses than you ever had - every customer who gets you on the phone.

Don't worry. Your own business has other benefits, and you'll get to remember a whole lot of them every April, when you find out how much of your money you're keeping out of the tax collector's hands.

Your small business doesn't have to be in the basement, of course, but that location often gives people the biggest tax writeoff, says chartered accountant Sheldon Buchalter. If your home is a bungalow with a big full basement, you may well be able to claim half of many of the costs of your house.

Buchalter shudders at the number of self-employed people who don't know they can claim the cost of a home office, or forget about it from one April to the next.

"I see it all the time," he says. "I had one guy who had been missing a tax deduction of five grand a year for the last four years. That's close to 10 grand he shouldn't have paid the government."

Buchalter himself has an office in his home as well as his cheerfully cluttered, fountain-bedecked place of business at Tepperman Buchalter LLP. He doesn't try to claim the expenses at home, though.

"You know what they say. Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered," he says. "I'm not using the office at home every day. I use it maybe 10, 15 times a year. It has to be regular, continuous use to be claimed. It's intended for when you have no other office or place to do business."

What Buchalter does do, though, is claim for the mountains of clients' files he stores in his basement.

"If I rented a storage space, it would probably cost $300 a month. Instead, our company pays me $75 a month."

The situation can be much more clear cut if your home office is the only place you have to do business. You may not, in that case, even have to set aside a room in the house that's used for nothing but business, although you're much safer with the tax collector if you do. Either way, you need to figure out how much of the expenses for your entire home could reasonably apply to the business.

The Canada Revenue Agency prefers that you get a tape measure out of your tool drawer, but Buchalter will have none of that.

He usually tells his clients to figure things out on the basis of one floor, say, in a three-floor house, or one room out of however many you have, not counting bathrooms or closets, no matter how big they are.

So what's eligible?

"You can claim your cleaning lady," Buchalter chortles, "or at least a part of her."

Other claimable expenses are more obvious. They include mortgage interest (but not the part of the payments that goes toward the principal owing), property taxes, heat, hydro, water and home insurance.

"Don't forget cutting the grass and shovelling the snow," Buchalter says. "You have to make the place attractive for the clients."

Repairs and renovations come into the picture, too, but they're a tougher call in terms of what to claim, and tax advisers and collectors may have differing opinions on what's legitimate and what's not.

"I tell my clients not to claim any portion of general house repairs," Buchalter says. He points to a new roof as an example. Sure, your office won't be much good to you if the rain is as bad inside as out, but then the house won't be habitable either, and won't be worth anything when you go to sell it.

Similarly, don't claim the cost of a major renovation - tearing down and putting up walls, and the like - to create your home office.

Besides, that kind of work could easily cost $20,000 or more, and that's not the kind of money you can claim as an expense in any one year.

Meanwhile, the courts have been pushing the tax collector into a kinder corner in recent years when it comes to expense claims for home offices.

"You can have a bit of personal use in a home office these days, and CRA still says okay," Buchalter says. "That's a big change in recent years."

Buchalter doesn't like to go too far with the tax rules.

"I tell people they can't use their living rooms or dining rooms as a home office," he says. "But a bedroom or a den is okay."

Getting back to the computer in your home office, if you bought the machine since March 2007, you can write off 55 per cent of the cost in the first year, with the rest to follow in later years. That's up from only 30 per cent to start - and may get a little closer to the speed with which computers collapse into the category of obsolete and worthless.

All the deductions you do take, though, can add up, so it's not surprising that the tax collector has thrown a wrench into the works. You have to make enough of a profit on your business to cover the home-office expenses, or you don't get to claim them in the current year.

The tax collector is giving you more latitude with your other expenses, producing a loss in your business even when you have a "day job" and are using the business loss to reduce the tax you owe on your regular employment income.

Whether you're in a home office or an outside office, however, the Canada Revenue Agency may take exception to the kind of business you run and whether you're allowed to claim expenses against your revenue at all.

"It's the hobby issue," Buchalter says.

If you start a mortgage lending business, even the tax collector isn't likely to accuse you of having so much fun that you shouldn't be allowed to deduct expenses. But if you love collecting stamps, and then decide to go into the business of buying and selling them, and you lose money ..."

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Doggie  T-Shirt
Doggie T-Shirt
In this instructable, I will describe how you can make a t-shirt for your dog out of an old human-sized tee.The first thing you'll need to do is gather your materials. You will need the following:dogold t-shirtpair of scissorssewing tape measurefabric glueSharpie for marking cuts (not pictured)needle and thread (optional)sew-on velcro (optional)When choosing a t-shirt, it is best to pick one that has a neck roughly the same size as your dog's. That way, you won't have to deal with cutting the neck down to fit or worry about cutting off Fido's air supply.Using your tape measure, get the following measurements:around the dog's middle (middle of chest is best)distance from neck to tail (along the back)distance from neck to mid-stomachshoulder to elbow (to determine sleeve length)Decide which side of the shirt you want showing and turn that face up on your cutting surface. Your first cut will be from the neck of the shirt to the length of the dog from neck to tail. Make your mark (and make sure you leave yourself an extra 1/4 inch or so for a hem) and cut across the bottom of the shirt.Next, you'll want to cut away the extra fabric from the sides so the shirt will fit right. To do this, mark out a section at the bottom of the shirt that is half as long as the distance around Fido's middle. Make sure that this section is centered. Then start drawing a line from your marks upward. When you get near the armpit area, use a French curve or plate or some other rounded edge to continue the line around the armpit and mark off about half of the sleeve to be cut. (If your dog has particularly thick forelegs, you may need to save more of the sleeve.) Once the marks are made, just cut along the lines. Don't forget to leave room for a hem.Turn the shirt over so that you have the stomach side facing upward. Measure from the neck down to the length from the dog's neck to mid-stomach and cut across at that length. Be sure to leave yourself room for a hem.Depending on the length of your dog's forelegs, you may need to cut the sleeves. Go ahead and do that now if you need to.Turn the shirt inside out and use the fabric glue to hem up the cut edges. To do this, put some glue down on the fabric a little ways away from the edge and then fold the edge over the glue so that the cut edge is now on the inside of the shirt. press the fabric and glue together until they set enough to stick together on their own. If you're having trouble getting some to stay together on their own, try pinning them together until they stick. You may have to do this in stages so that the glue will have time to dry. Also, for reasons that will become clear in the next step, it's not necessary to put a hem on the left and right edges of the stomach side (but don't forget to put one along the bottom edge.If you prefer, you can use the needle and thread for this, or a sewing machine if you have one. I would just make a mess if I tried that, so I went with the much safer route of the fabric glue.The trickiest bit of gluing is getting the sides of the shirt that go in the armpit glued back together. With the shirt inside out and the stomach side (the short one) facing up, fold the edge of the back side (the long one) over and glue the stomach side to it.Your shirt should look something like this.Depending on the size of your dog and how much they like to be dressed, you may find it easier to make a cut down the middle of the stomach side of the shirt and sew in some velcro tabs. You could even use buttons or snaps, but velcro seems to be the best balance of affordability, effectiveness and ease of application.What project of this variety would be complete without a fashion show?Hopefully you and your dog will enjoy this as much as we did.
How to Block Bamboo Yarn
How to Block Bamboo Yarn
Blocking is one of the finishing steps for most knitting projects, and the technique you choose depends on the fiber. Yarn made from bamboo is soft and breathable with a silk-like sheen, which makes it a good choice for knitting or crochet projects such as warm-weather sweaters and lace shawls. To make yarn from this cellulose fiber, manufacturers break down the bamboo plant into a liquid and force it through a spinneret to create the fibers. The result is a man-made fiber from a natural source that should be blocked carefully with no heat.Lay the finished pieces on a flat surface. You can use any surface that can get wet and that you can push pins into, like a carpeted floor covered in a towel. Another option is a large piece of cardboard covered in plastic. You can also use a spare bed covered in towels or plastic sheeting. If you are blocking a large garment or a lot of knitting, the water-resistance of your surface will be more important.Pin the pieces to the size and shape you want. Consult the pattern schematic for the finished dimensions of garment pieces and use a tape measure to shape the pieces. Pin the outer-most points first and then add pins along edges as needed. Curves need more pins than straight edges.For a shawl or scarf, first pin along a straight edge and then stretch the fabric to open and reveal the design, adding pins as needed to hold the shape. If the shawl has a pointed edging, put a pin in each point to hold it.Spray the pieces with water to get them quite wet. Add more pins if needed.Let the garment dry. Remove the pins.
Get Techie with Laser Tape Measures
Get Techie with Laser Tape Measures
TCredit: Amazonape measures have caught up with the 21st century thanks to the laser tape measure. Now struggling to measure those long distances can be easy using a laser tape measure. All you do is point the laser against the target you want to measure, then hit the read button and it will digitally display your measurement, to the exact point, on an easy to read LCD screen. The results you get are said to be 99.5 % accurate and will measure in feet, inches, or in metric dimensions, plus many more depending on the model type.These tape measures are perfect to use in the home if you do a lot of DIY house work, or on a building site too. Laser tape measures have been around awhile so there is a nice wide selection of these techie tape measurers to choose from. Some of the best are as follows:The CST Stanley 77-910 TLM100 FatMax Tru- Laser - The cost of this laser tape measure is roughly around $100. It is very easy to use, you just point at where you want to measure then press the button to get your measurement. The Stanly is one of the most accurate out of all sonic distance measurers. It is precisely accurate, up to ¼ inch to 100feet. The Stanley even measures in linear distances, can add and subtract distant measurements, and do calculation for you.It also features a nice good size LCD screen so there is no having to hold it at a certain angel to be able to read it. It is also super light weight which is what makes the Stanley TLM100 one of the best.Zircon 58430 DMS50L 50 Ultrasonic Measure with Laser Targeting - The Zircon is a bit more affordable if you are on a budget, it costs only $44. It will measure in length, width, area, and volume for you easily with one hand. The only problem with the Zircon is you won't get you an exact reading. It usually round off to the nearest inch. The Zircon is a good tapeless measurer to have if you wanting to do estimate measurements.Before You BuyIf you find the laser tape measure appealing there are certain things you should be aware of before you go out and buy one.1. Check distance of measuring -Not all laser tape measures will measure the same distance. Some laser measures can only measure so far. So if you need to measure long distances make sure that thelaser measuring tape you are looking atcan go that far.2. Check Accuracy - Sure laser tape measures boast better accuracy, but not all necessarily do exactly what they quote. Be very careful when selecting your laser tape measurer. If you need a really accurate reading, double check to make sure your laser measurer can do so.
The Handy Man Or Woman's Gift List
The Handy Man Or Woman's Gift List
Do-it-yourselfers give of their time and talents all year long. When it comes to giving back, there's no better time in home improvement history than the present.Advances in technology continue to deliver state-of-the-art tools and gadgets at prices more affordable than ever. Innovations range from something as simple as a knuckle-saving socket set to a waterproof micro inspection camera, for under $200.Grip-Tite Super Sockets Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks The socket wrench has been around for years -- and busting knuckles just as long. Many sockets are known as knuckle busters because they can round off the nut or bolt, which causes the wrench to slip. What's worse, the rounded off nut or bolt is virtually impossible to remove. Still, it's a must for everything from assembling a bicycle to building a deck. And thanks to Grip-Tite Super Socket sets, there can be no more busted knuckles. Grip-Tite Sockets use Advanced Camming Technology, which consists of six cams that expand over and onto the bolt or nut and gently grab it -- enough to hold it in place but light enough to easily remove the bolt or nut by hand. They're guaranteed never to round out a nut or bolt.Suggested retail: $24.99 for a seven-piece set and $64.99 for a 17-piece set. For more information, visit Tape Measure & Level with Writing SurfaceNo respectable do-it-yourselfer would be caught dead without a retractable tape measure, a square, a level, a pencil and something to write on.Now, the investment, clutter and organization associated with these tools have been simplified thanks to the folks at Generation Tools. Their new SquareONE is an all-in-one measuring system that features a tape measure, a square, a level, a pencil (including an on-board holder and sharpener) and an erasable surface onto which one can jot down measurements.SquareONE comes in five full-size models (10-foot, 12-foot, 16-foot, 18-foot and 25-foot) and, though slightly larger than conventional retractable metal tape measures, appears to be lighter. In addition to the standard issue belt clip, SquareONE has a tough rubber coating for easy gripping and durability.Suggested retail: $7.99 for the 10-foot model to $19.99 for the 25-foot model. For more information, visit & Decker 3.6 Volt Cordless Power ScissorsOur mom loved to sew. We can remember how thrilled she was when we presented her with a pair of electric scissors for Christmas many years ago. Those scissors must have cut literally miles of fabric.Now, the same idea is available for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to make cutting through building materials a breeze. Black and Decker's Cordless Power Scissors make cutting through a variety of materials fast and easy. You can use them to cut through cardboard, plastic, tarps, canvas, vinyl flooring, paper, window screening and, oh yes, fabric. The Power Scissors are light and have a soft, ergonomically designed grip.Suggested retail: Just under $20. For more information, visit & Decker's Portable Mini InflatorBlack & Decker gets a second mention this year with their nifty new portable mini inflator, slightly larger than a small portable radio. Powered by one 7V lithium-ion battery (sold separately), the VPX Inflator is perfect for pumping up wheelbarrow tires, bicycle tires, sports and exercise balls and pool toys.It includes on-board storage for a hose, gauge, needle, raft nozzle and presta valve adapter.Suggested retail: About $30. For more information, visit SeaSnake Micro Inspection Camera While this one might first appear to be a tool designed more for a pro than a DIYer, you might just be surprised how handy it can be when you discover some of its common uses. Small cameras have been used for many years by pros inspecting hard-to-access spaces like sewers and chimneys.Rigid Tool Company brings that same technology to mainstream use with its SeaSnake Micro Inspection Camera -- a waterproof camera, light, cable and LCD monitor. Some of the reported uses include finding electrical wires, plumbing pipes and gas lines in closed walls and attics; exploring the inside of a VCR; checking air ducts for debris; checking sink connections in a crowded sink space; and checking the grinding lugs on a garbage disposer.Suggested retail: Under $200. For more information, visit
How to Make Hair Wraps
How to Make Hair Wraps
A hair wrap is a type of hair accessory made from twisted, braided and wrapped strands of embroidery floss. Purchasing salon clip-in hair wraps can be costly, but you can create your own individual hair wraps for a fraction of the price. Use different colored strands of embroidery floss to create a stylish hair wrap that reflects your personality and style. All the materials required to create hair wraps can be purchased from craft stores or online retailers.Embroidery flossTape measureScissorsSection off a small area of hair, approximately 1/4 inch. The section can be anywhere on the head but it works best if it is in a visible position.Measure the length of the section of hair with the tape measure. Cut two pieces of embroidery floss that are each four times the length of the section of hair.Align the tops of the two pieces of embroidery floss. Double the threads over. Tie the middle of the threads around the top of the section of hair, next to the scalp, in a single knot.Lay three of the strands vertically along the length of the hair. Lift one of the threads and wrap it in a clockwise direction around the section of hair and over the three vertical strands. Continue wrapping the thread tightly, until you have wrapped a two-inch section of hair.Lay the strand you just wrapped vertically against the section of hair. Pick up one of the other colored strands of embroidery floss and repeat the wrapping technique around the hair until you have wrapped another two inches of hair. Repeat the wrapping technique, alternating the two different color strands, until you have wrapped the desired amount of hair.Tie one of the strands in a double knot around the bottom of the hair wrap to secure it in place. Cut off any excess embroidery thread with the scissors.Add beads to the bottom to create a stylish braid.To undo the wrap, carefully cut through the knot in the top of the wrap and unravel the embroidery floss.Scissors should only be used under the supervision of responsible adults.
How to Make a Blindfold Out of a Shirt
How to Make a Blindfold Out of a Shirt
Blindfolds can serve many purposes, from covering people's eyes during party games to maintaining an element of surprise as you lead a friend to a gift. Instead of going out and buying a blindfold, you can make one of your own quite easily using items around your home. A bandana blindfold, rolled up and tied around someone's eyes in the same way you would tie a bandana around your forehead, works just as well as any other kind of blindfold.Find an old shirt you no longer want to wear and won't mind cutting up. Hold the fabric up to your face to ensure the fabric of the shirt is thick enough to prevent you from seeing through it.Lay the shirt out flat. Measure out a 22-by-22-inch square on the shirt using a ruler or tape measure. The best place to measure such a square will be the back of the shirt or the midriff area if it's not a button-down. Mark the places on the shirt you plan to cut using a pen or marker. Cut out the measured square using scissors.Lay out your 22-by-22-inch shirt square. Fold the square in half diagonally to form a triangle. Arrange the triangle so it points toward you. Fold the tip of the triangle back toward the top 2 to 3 inches, carefully rolling back the tip of the square. Continue to roll or fold the shirt square until you reach the top edge and the shirt is now a long, thick folded strip.Hold each end of the folded shirt in your hand. Place the shirt over the eyes of the person you want to blindfold, and pull each end of the shirt around to the back of his head. Tie the two ends of the shirt together snugly, securing the ends into a knot if you choose.
Bacteriophage T5 Tail Tube Structure Suggests a Trigger Mechanism for  Siphoviridae  DNA Ejection
Bacteriophage T5 Tail Tube Structure Suggests a Trigger Mechanism for Siphoviridae DNA Ejection
The vast majority of phages, bacterial viruses, possess a tail ensuring host recognition, cell wall perforation and safe viral DNA transfer from the capsid to the host cytoplasm. Long flexible tails are formed from the tail tube protein (TTP) polymerised as hexameric rings around and stacked along the tape measure protein (TMP). Here, we report the crystal structure of T5 TTP pb6 at 2.2 Å resolution. Pb6 is unusual in forming a trimeric ring, although structure analysis reveals homology with all classical TTPs and related tube proteins of bacterial puncturing devices (type VI secretion system and R-pyocin). Structures of T5 tail tubes before and after interaction with the host receptor were determined by cryo-electron microscopy at 6 Å resolution. Comparison of these two structures reveals that host-binding information is not propagated to the capsid through conformational changes in the tail tube, suggesting a role of the TMP in this informationtransduction process.Phage tail architectures and strategies of cell wall recognition and perforation are different for each family of tailed phages: use a 'syringe-like' mechanism, whereby the long and straight contractile tail mechanically and chemically 'drills' the cell wall with a metal-loaded needle. For the short tailed , the sequence of events has also been investigated and proteins involved in DNA delivery have been identified: following attachment of the receptor fibres to the host, conformational changes are transmitted to the core proteins located in the capsid, leading to their expulsion, resulting in the formation of a channel that spans the whole cell wall. Concerning the large family of the , structural information (refs. and references therein) has yet to detail the mechanisms by which receptor binding promotes DNA ejection. A study based on negative-stain electron microscopy (EM) data proposed the tail tube protein (TTP) to be involved in signal transduction from the distal end of the tail to the capsid in phage SPP1. Beyond differences between the phage families, the wealth of structural data on phage tail proteins points to strong structural homologies, highlighting a common protein building block that has been duplicated and decorated with different domains to serve alternative functions within the long phage tails (e.g. refs. ). Furthermore, structural homologies between tail proteins, proteins of the type VI secretion system (T6SS) of pathogenic bacteria and of R-pyocins suggest a common evolutionary origin that evaded sequence analysis because of very low sequence conservation (reviewed in refs. ). In particular, the inner tube of all these puncturing devices is formed by the stack of doughnut-shaped, structurally very conserved hexamers.Phage T5 is a infecting the Gram-negative host . Its overall structure has been determined, showing an unusual threefold symmetry of the tail tube. To our knowledge, such a threefold symmetric tail tube has been observed in only one other case, for siphophage ΦCbK. In T5, the tail tube is formed by the stack of 40 trimers of the TTP pb6 around the tape measure protein (TMP). The latter spans the whole tail tube as a long coiled-coil, and its C terminus is located in the tail tip complex, at the tip of which is found T5 receptor-binding protein. The mere interaction of T5 with its host receptor, the outer membrane iron-ferrichrome transporter FhuA, triggers in vitro the release of DNA from the capsid. Moreover, functional tails can be isolated from an amber mutant in the major capsid protein. This makes T5 an attractive and well-suited system to investigate tail structure and reorganisation induced upon DNA release. Here, we determined the structure of pb6, and show that it results in the duplication/fusion of the hexamerisation domain common to all other tubes. We also determined the structure of T5 tail tube by cryo-EM to 6 Å resolution. The fit of pb6 crystal structure in the EM density map allowed proposing a pseudo-atomic model of T5 tail tube. Comparison of the structures of T5 tail tube before and after interaction with its receptor shows no differences, suggesting that pb6 plays no role in the transduction of receptor binding from the tip of the tail to the capsid.
How Does a Laser Tape Measure Work?
How Does a Laser Tape Measure Work?
Laser tape measures are alternatives to traditional metal tape measures; they're used to calculate lengths, widths and heights of up to about 650 feet (198 meters). They're generally considered accurate to within an eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) when measuring a distance of up to 300 feet (91.5 meters). Laser tape measures are used mainly by contractors, insurance adjusters, architects, flooring professionals and other people who do a lot of measuring. However, homeowners can easily use laser tape measures around the house, too.To use a laser tape measure, you place the device on one end of what you want to measure, and then aim the laser beam so that it hits an object at the other end. If there's no wall, pole or anything like that, you can put a target at the spot you want to measure up to. The process is similar to using a conventional tape measure, except you use a laser beam instead of metal tape. Once you have the laser at the right spot, press the button, and the tape measure calculates the distance and displays it on its screen. The calculation is done through precision optics and laser physics using the phase-shift method, in which a laser hits an object and compares its reflection with the beam sent out, or using the time-of-flight method in which the time it takes for an optical pulse to reflect back is calculated. Some laser tape measures let you measure multiple distances and add them together automatically.Laser tape measures are normally quicker to use than conventional ones, and you avoid the inaccuracies that can be caused by a twisted or sagging tape measure. Plus, it's easier to read a digital display of the measurement than to count little lines on a tape measure. Laser tape measures also eliminate the complications of measuring high ceilings and other hard-to-reach spaces.
Holocaust Survivor Tailors an American Success Story
Holocaust Survivor Tailors an American Success Story
NEW YORK - Like many men, Martin Greenfield ordered a new suit when his life was about to change: He placed his order just after he was liberated from a concentration camp.In 1945, he left Buchenwald and arrived at a German warehouse, where Allied soldiers let Greenfield pilfer four cuts of English wool. The freed captive carried the fabric to a Prague tailor, who made a suit for Greenfield from two of the cuts, with the other two as payment.Two years later, an uncle helped Greenfield cross the Atlantic, and a fellow Czech immigrant guided him to a job as a floor boy in a Brooklyn garment factory. Within a few years, Greenfield became a tailor, assigned to the factory's famous clients - actors, athletes, politicians. By the 1970s, he had amassed enough skill and capital to buy the factory. And today, at 84, Greenfield can count among the tens of thousands of men he has dressed, three presidents, a vice president, Cabinet secretaries and countless senators and representatives.Through the decades, Greenfield constructed made-to-measure suits that customers ordered at special sales at Brooks Brothers and Neiman Marcus stores nationwide. Such trunk shows brought him often to the capital of the country that saved his life, where he suited up many of the men who run it.There appears to be a fourth president among his clients. In February 2011 and then again one year later, Greenfield and his two sons - now his business partners - made trips to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The White House logs reveal that the Greenfields visited a personal aide in the official residence. The tailor doesn't talk about any well-known client, until the client talks about him first.By all accounts, the president doesn't focus much, if at all, on clothes. He wears the same outfits into disrepair. When asked about his suits during the 2008 campaign, Sen. Barack Obama looked inside his jacket and said he was wearing an off-the-rack suit from Burberry. For his inauguration ball, he wore a tuxedo by Hart Schaffner Marx, the storied Chicago suit maker.Greenfield's bespoke suits fit the bill for White House wear. They can range from $1,800 to $2,700, depending on fabric and features. The tailor works simply, as he always has and in a way that few competitors still do, showing up six days a week in a union shop that employs more than 100. The plant has stayed open in a rough neighborhood during bleak decades. Greenfield's factory has been burglarized 11times.On a recent visit to Greenfield's office, before conversation could begin, his sons removed two framed photographs from the walls and shelves from among the signed photos of Paul Newman and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. If President Obama belongs in this gallery, the father and sons - and the White House - aren't saying.* * *At Auschwitz, the prisoners were sorted by gender, and Martin's 5-year-old brother, who had been hanging on him "like I was a hero," went with his father. His younger sister was pulled away from his mother and other sister and sent in another direction because she had blond hair and blue eyes. When the registrars asked if anyone knew a trade, his father offered up Martin as a skilled mechanic.The teenage boy seethed. The father and son had been at odds for days. His father had just traveled to retrieve Martin from Budapest, where he had been sent to live with relatives. The headstrong adolescent had sneaked away from the safety of his cousins and found work in a mechanic's garage. Martin's father had come to check on the boy, who had wound up in a hospital after ogling a female passerby and mangling his left hand in a running engine.The father traced the son to an address and fumed at what he discovered: His son was renting a room in a legal house of prostitution.Father and son returned home to their remote, idyllic town of Pav­lovo. Once reunited with his family, Martin could finally plan his bar mitzvah, which was deferred throughout his exile in Budapest. But two days after his return, the Nazis knocked on the family's door, ordered them to pack up and hustled them off to Auschwitz.* * *Greenfield came down to Washington in September 2001 and stayed at the Mayflower, a short walk to the downtown Brooks Brothers, where he scheduled one of his regular made-to-measure trunk shows. He also secured an appointment with President George W. Bush, who would join the tailor after a morning in Florida. But other events overtook the day; first the sidewalks, then the streets filled with downtown workers walking northward.Watching the exodus, Greenfield stayed put. He was stuck in place, like all Americans on Sept. 11, when air and rail travel was suspended. The morning after, he decided to walk to Brooks Brothers and open for business, in search of normalcy.One client showed up, and then another. Whether in grief or shock, customers let Greenfield run his tape measure across their limbs and torsos, recording each of the 27 measurements in his intricate system.All week Greenfield struggled to get home to his wife, Arlene, in New York. Finally, with the help of his friend Colin Powell, he purchased a first-class train ticket. From the train, Greenfield saw the altered Manhattan skyline. He thought of the staff at Windows on the World in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, where everybody knew him as a regular.* * *As a boy in the camp, Greenfield was given the chore of washing the Auschwitz guards' clothes by hand. "I didn't know how to wash shirts - we had a maid. And I ripped his collar," he recalled. The shirt's owner was incensed. "First he whipped me, then he gave me the shirt," throwing it at the boy.Greenfield learned to sew, and tailored the discarded shirt's collar to fit his own neck. Then he dared to wear the shirt under his striped uniform, and noticed the reactions from guards and prisoners alike. "They thought I was somebody," he said, noting that the new outfit allowed him into barracks and hospital hallways where he could sneak food to the famished. "I ripped a couple of others then. I was smart enough to do that. Then I had already a wardrobe!"* * *For more than three decades, Gen. Colin Powell bought his clothes from a PX. His orders were simple: He'd ask for a 42-long and take whatever was offered. A dozen years ago, at a cousin's party in the Hamptons, Powell was approached by an assertive and friendly gentleman who said he had dressed generals before and would dress him, too.Powell was preparing to be a civilian in political life, and he showed up for his Greenfield appointment in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood. "I got out of the car and looked at this factory and thought I was somewhere back in the 19th century," Powell said of the four-story plant, which stands in what had been a crime-infested part of town.Up the steel stairs and through a creaking door, Powell saw the cluttered floors filled with pattern fragments hanging from hooks. Practiced hands pulled wool and silk through the pistoning needles of steel machines.When making a custom suit, Greenfield allows for all sorts of variation in lapel and vent, but he keeps away from drapey Italian cuts or fastidious Savile Row features. On Powell's first visit, Greenfield asked an Italian master tailor about one work-in-progress. The Italian's counsel: This a little lower, that a little higher. "And Martin would say, 'No, that's wrong,' " Powell said. "They all took it all in stride. It's just Martin."Powell learned how clothing constructed just for him made him look and feel different. Greenfield came to the Powell residence to meet his wife, Alma, and go over more swatches. The tailor routinely second-guessed the couple's choices. He explained how tie colors "shouldn't fight the camera," in Greenfield's terms."Now for a guy who wore black ties for 35 years, this was all extremely revealing," Powell recalled. Over the years, this loyal customer referred others to Greenfield, warning his reluctant deputy at the State Department, Richard Armitage, that once he got his wide frame fitted in a just-for-him suit, he wouldn't buy just one. Donald Rumsfeld became a client. The fitting sessions are always discreet, intimate, with shared confidences. "Martin became one of my mentors," Powell said.Once, knowing he'd be outside playing soccer with a bunch of kids for a Time magazine photo shoot, Powell chose a grubby old blazer from the back of his closet.About two weeks later, Greenfield rang Powell in distress. "Have you seen the magazine?" the tailor asked. "You seen the picture they've got? People will think that shmatte is mine!"* * *In January 1945, Greenfield and the other prisoners could hear gunfire outside the camp. The German guards rounded up the thousands of prisoners and marched them out of the camp.A Gestapo agent made Greenfield carry his pack. Greenfield managed to snoop through it, ingesting some vitamins and discarding the ammunition. There was some salami and bread, which he distributed to other prisoners.The guard was livid and searched for the boy who swiped his supplies. The boy had made friends, however, who hid him inside a snowdrift. Greenfield survived, in part, because he was wearing extra thermal layers: the three Gestapo shirts he had torn.* * *Bill Clinton was the first president to welcome Greenfield inside the White House and to be personally measured by him. The president had rarely turned his mind to clothes, and this meeting was arranged through the designer Donna Karan, for whom Greenfield had long constructed the designer's suits for men. Soon, Greenfield measured Clinton for his white-tie-and-tails outfit, which Greenfield taught him how to wear. The president bought a total of 20 garments.Greenfield's clientele is bipartisan. He once assembled a three-piece suit for President Gerald R. Ford, and Secret Service agents stood over him while he fashioned a bulletproof version of the vest. Greenfield had measured Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) for suits and compensated for Dole's war-wound-withered arm and sloping shoulder.Another time, in the late 1990s, at a trunk show in Chevy Chase, a client arrived in a wheelchair. Invading anyone's space with a tape measure is sensitive, but this client remarked that Greenfield took admirable care with his disabled body. Greenfield knew people in wheelchairs "had to look dressed," he said. The tailor understood the difficulties of getting clothing on and off, where to cut and taper so it looks fitted when the wearer is seated.Back at home after the Chevy Chase visit, Greenfield's wife was watching news of Clinton's impeachment trial. The tailor turned when he heard a voice he recognized. On the screen was his disabled client, wearing one of his suits.It was Charles Ruff, one of Clinton's defense lawyers, and Greenfield had one regret. Ruff was so pleased that he had ordered six suits, and Greenfield, flabbergasted, had cut him a deal, using less-expensive fabrics to alleviate the costs of the man's splurge. Now that same customer was on television, and the craftsman's pride gnawed at him: "I was sorry I didn't sell him a better suit."* * *After a forced march, the surviving prisoners boarded a train headed south. They arrived in Buchenwald, and with its big flag and big gate, the camp seemed grander than those in Poland.Inside, many of the tens of thousands of prisoners proved savvy and scheming. Greenfield was assigned a job in the munitions factory. At night, the barracks was filled with whispered instructions to bring back parts of weapons. A Russian officer with no legs was masterminding an uprising.Before the inside job could come together, gunfire erupted outside the gate. It was April 1945. Americans were storming the camp. Emaciated and tired, Greenfield dodged bullets and the falling, burning pieces of barracks. He watched as Gestapo officers grabbed prisoners, killed them and donned their uniforms to masquerade as innocents.Americans overtook the camp and in the aftermath, Greenfield rested at a dig site where Nazis had buried stolen valuables - jewelry, diamonds, precious metals. American soldiers hacked at the dirt with shovels, and one of them tossed to Greenfield a Schaffhausen watch.Inside the camp, the boy confronted a young rabbi, a U.S. Army chaplain: "Where was God?" he asked, dissolving into tears when the rabbi could not muster an answer.Before he left Buchenwald, the boy cheered the arrival of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who ordered Germans from the town to be ushered into the camp to see for themselves the stacks of corpses and the living skeletons. One boy, two years younger than Greenfield, watched alongside him and seemed "the skinniest kid that ever survived," he recalled; he was Elie Wiesel.When Eisenhower walked toward them, "he looked like he was 10 feet tall," Greenfield recalled. The freed prisoner shook the general's hand.* * *At 19, after failing to find his parents and siblings, Greenfield reached the United States on a ship called the Ernie Pyle. He worked for a while in Baltimore, staying with his affluent cousins who treated every meal like it was a party. On his first trip to Washington as a new immigrant, Greenfield was awestruck and spent eight days visiting monuments and museums. Accompanied by a friend, he randomly struck up a conversation with Alben Barkley, the Kentucky senator. "He wanted to know where we come from, what we do here," Greenfield recalled. Barkley was among the first American officials to visit Buchenwald and the immigrants showed him their serial-number tattoos. "He took me on a ride on a little car that they ride the senators. He bought us lunch."As his fluency in English improved, Greenfield became an avid newspaper reader and watched in amazement as Barkley became Truman's vice president and, of course, a client and even a pen pal.At the factory, Greenfield excelled, and his bosses assigned him the company's most important customer - Eisenhower. Years after their handshake in Buchenwald, Greenfield was making clothes for the general, who was shedding his uniform for the outfits of a statesman.The commissions were basic, conservative. Later, the immigrant decided to take a liberty.Weeks later, the White House placed a call to his boss, who came over to Greenfield. "The president loved the suits," the boss said, "but there's somebody here who writes notes in his pockets."Greenfield had been reading about the 1956 conflict over the Suez Canal and was troubled at the thought of the English and French back in battle, along with Israel. His note, inserted in a pocket that was sewn closed, posed a simple question to Eisenhower, who had committed troops and weapons: "Why don't you send dollars?"Confronted by the boss, Greenfield didn't shy away. "I write nice notes!" he said. "And I give him good advice, if only he would listen to me."* * *Greenfield kept in touch with many customers. Robert Strauss, the Democratic Party chairman, became an intimate, and when President Ronald Reagan broke ground on the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Strauss ordered a limo to ferry the Greenfields around town. From his front-row seat, Greenfield saw a familiar face onstage - the rabbi whom he had met in Buchenwald. After the ceremony, Greenfield approached Rabbi Hershel Schaecter, who said he had never forgotten Greenfield or his unanswerable question. After their reunion, the two men spent decades of friendship discussing it.It was also in Washington that New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly first bought a suit from Greenfield. Then working for the Treasury Department, Kelly enjoyed the fitting and the conversation so much that the two went to lunch at the department's lunchroom. "You get a firehose of wisdom when you go to see him," Kelly said.Kelly reminisced about the suits he bought, a double-breasted cut, and the wool they chose together. He has kept it in rotation ever since. He noticed how often other people noticed; the maitre d' at the 21 Club remarked about it and Kelly shared the maker like a secret code among influentials. "You know who can spot it?" Kelly asked. "Women."Kelly recalled seeing the whole Greenfield clan together at their Long Island temple a few summers ago.Fawning over Arlene, his wife of 56 years, in the company of sons Jay and Tod and all the grandchildren, the patriarch was dressed colorfully as ever, in a purple-and-white seersucker suit. Under his vest, he wore braces, and always his breast pocket burst with a silk square. Kelly watched Greenfield command his big white Chrysler convertible, with the top down.Arlene Greenfield had invited a few of her husband's clients, like Kelly, to join them for a special event: Martin Greenfield's long-postponed bar mitzvah. The service was nearly 70 years late, but his whole family was there. Alice Crites contributed to this report.
What Homeowners Can Get From Window Films
What Homeowners Can Get From Window Films
Window tinting Texas offers a number of great benefits which include the fact that it can protect your home against solar glare while it helps reduce cooling and heating bills. Window film or glass film is a protective layer that is made from polyester and metal alloys. A modern and stylish way to add appeal to your glass surfaces is through the use of glass films. It works great for rooms that need privacy without sacrificing natural lighting. It significantly strengthens any glass window. It lessens the possibility of a shattering by holding the broken shards in place. Glass film is inexpensive as well and it does not require special tools when it's attached to glass windows. In line with this, glass films also give people an option for a less expensive means to transform an ordinary looking glass window, door, or wall into a work of art. Glass films are also a wonderful alternative for crafty stained glass windows. Moreover, people will also find that window films offer a simple and fun do-it-yourself installation procedure . For the installation of glass films, you will need a spray bottle, ruler, utility knife/blade/cutter, paper towel, tape measure, wetting solution composed of water and mild dish detergent, and squeegee. A squeegee is used to remove or control the flow of liquid on a flat surface. The dish detergent solution will be used to completely clean the glass surface as the glass film's adhesive backing won't stick to grimy surfaces. The application of custom graphic and frosted glass films can also be done by professionals who specialize in Glass film installation if you want to ensure the proper application of the protective film layer. A trendy glass film can give the homeowner's windows the appearance of an etched window glass without having to spend lots of money. Aside from this, people may choose from different themes, colors, and designs of glass films depending on their taste and home style. Moreover, good window tints can be achieved through the installation of glass films. There are many available types of window tint offered in the market. Glass films can provide protection from ultraviolet rays, enhanced privacy, safety and security, added protection from broken glass, and decorative patterns. There are also companies that offer window films that help reduce energy consumption at home by lessening the bills for home cooling systems. Interior designers also agree that glass films don't only add to the aesthetics of the house; they also protect the interior furnishings from fading. Accordingly, professional Glass film dealers also offer high quality installation services to their clients and guarantee them of accurate application of the film layer onto their glass windows, front doors, shower doors , and even glass walls.
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