Toilet impresario has gleaned tales from the tank

This Old Toilet
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Gary Tjader, above, matches vintage toilet tanks with homeowners in need of a fix through his business, This Old Toilet.

Los Altos resident Gary Tjader has presided over a nationwide empire of obscure toilet parts, but you’ll only know of him if the worst has happened: that cracking shatter of porcelain hitting tile as a bathroom fixture meets its end.

His home base in Loyola Corners, a 1940s home converted into office space by a previous occupant, houses row upon row of tank lids organized by brand, model and color in a rainbow backyard array. Take a tour of the Kohlers, American Standards and Eljers and you’ll see the iconic Ming green of the 1960s blend into the spruce green and sunflower of the 1970s. His oldest lid dates back to 1915.

BBB: How to redeem gift cards when business goes bankrupt

Gift cards might seem like the perfect present for a hard-to-shop-for friend or family member, but they are not without drawbacks.

When a store goes out of business, gift cards do, too. That’s unfortunately what many Toys “R” Us customers just found out. The chain is closing its stores, and gift card holders have 30 days to use their cards.

Spring flowers spring up in a north Los Altos garage

As Los Altos hovers between winter and spring – with cool weather and rains to make it obvious – flower-market wares also hover between seasons.

Those early spring blossoms are in evidence if you wander by the garage of Los Altos resident Eryn Johnson, whose floral business Flowers by Eryn has just begun to bloom over the last year. She heads to San Francisco’s venerable SF Flower Mart at 6 a.m. once a week to browse the ever-varying selection of wholesale flowers. By the time the market opens to the public at 10 a.m., some vendors have finished for the day.

Downtown Egg Hunt set for Saturday

The Easter Bunny plans to hide more than 4,000 candy-filled eggs along Main and State streets in preparation for the 55th annual Downtown Los Altos Easter Egg Hunt.

Hosted by the Los Altos Village Association, the Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled 10 a.m. Saturday, when a Los Altos Police squad car will signal the start with several siren blasts.

Forced arbitration strips consumers of rights

Virtually every consumer contract for goods and/or services you enter into these days has an arbitration clause that puts conflict resolution in an alternate universe almost completely outside of the court system.

Sounds attractive. It’s allegedly quicker and cheaper than the courts. The clause is often hidden in the fine print and, if read, its consequences are difficult even for attorneys to understand. You see, the smaller the print in your standardized, prewritten contracts, the larger the issues likely are.

How to avoid the top financial mistakes retirees often make

Any mountain climber will tell you that a greater number of accidents and fatalities occur on the descent rather than the ascent to the summit. Similarly, during our working years, we strive to provide and save for retirement, without giving too much thought to developing a solid plan for making our funds outlast our lifetimes.

People are very focused on the accumulation phase and don’t pay enough attention to the distribution phase, which starts at the moment they stop receiving a regular paycheck.

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