Are We Having Fun Yet?

A lot has happened since the last newsletter. So many events took place I would not have enough space to write it all down. I have a question for you.


Are we having fun yet?


Whenever we are asked that 'annoying' question the answer is always, "NO".  To me the fallout of this pandemic is not fun at all! We all have cliches how to deal with problems. We say things like, "We all just need to make lemonade out of lemons." , or "Remember that flowers grow out of manure."  Well, I’m surely smelling the manure and so much lemonade my lips are bleeding. 


My last newsletter sparked a reaction for sure and it was intended to explain my reasoning for getting California back to work. I want to thank all of you who verbally or in writing, supported the comments. It is not that you agreed with all of it but you understood my position and my sincerity in this matter. One of you said, "I agree 1000%!" (and that's not a typo) I obviously loved that comment. Some of the readers were disgusted with my comments and one even said, "You are a dangerous man!" I responded in gratitude and respectfulness to everyone that wrote me back. Those of you that couldn't write because of risking your business position or it wasn’t appropriate, and nodded your head thinking, 'That's cool."  to you I also thank. Some of you sent me helpful information and links to other sources.


And special thanks to all of you who gave us business these last 45 days! Chelsea, Gay, Dan, Rhonda, Bill, Materials Marketing, Judy, Dennis, Mike, Caroline, Eileen, Lynn, Epic, Sy, Dave, Melissa, Kelleen, Samar, Duane, Busch Group, Aimee, Karen, Larry, Mike and others that referred them or hired us.  WE TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!





This newsletter will be outlined into 3 sections for your enjoyment.


1.  "How to remove germs from stone without ruining it?"


2.  "How do we men respond to others in stressful times?"


3.  "I'm calling B.S. Part 2." 





See, a little for everyone. Thank you for taking the time to hear me. 

Mark Ortiz. 




1. How to disinfect without damaging natural stone.



It’s so important to use the correct products on natural stone in order to keep it looking great and preventing damage to the finish. I get a lot of questions asking how to kill germs on stone and here are some brief tips that should help. 


1. Continue to use your recommended cleaning products for natural stone as you always have. If you like it, stick with it.


2. A commonly found product that doesn't harm natural stone is plain bleach. Yet full strength it can remove some sealers, but it will not harm the stone. The proper dilution for me is about 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Or a teaspoon in a quart spray bottle. On honed stones and granite, Soft Scrub with Bleach is perfect for cleaning and also for removing mildew from grout and caulking joints.

* Never mix bleach with other cleaning chemicals.


3. Disinfectant wipes are OK to use on natural stone (if you can find any).  


4. Diluted liquid dish soap also cleans off germs.  Think about it, if you are confident your utensils and cups are clean after using dish soap and warm water, shouldn’t it be just fine for counters too?  Some of the liquid dish soaps are known to dull polished marble, but it's rare. If diluted enough, you won't harm it. Rinse with water after using dish soap.


5. You heard that good ol’ hot water has proven to kill germs and viruses. The hot water I'm talking about may burn your skin so wear rubber gloves. Recommended temperature is approximately 150 degrees. "Ouch!" (The hot water from my faucet measures at 150 degrees) Use warm water and cleaners, its safer. 


6. After using any type of disinfectant, wipe again with your neutral ph recommended stone cleaner for best appearance.


Check our our Cleaning Product Recommendations here.  Stay healthy all the time!


2. How do we men respond to others in stressful times?


For the record, I'm not a clinical psychologist, a family therapist, a grief counselor, a marriage counselor or Dr. Ruth. I'm more like your Uncle Bob who tells Dad Jokes and always has a cold beer in the fridge for you. I know, not too reassuring. But there is one thing I have a strong passion for and that's marriage.


Here are my credentials:  Married to one woman for 27 years and so far she hasn't left me! That's pretty much it.  After all that I have done to irritate the natural hair color out of her you would think either she's sound deaf,  a saint or plotting my death. Either way, today, I'm the luckiest man on earth to have her.                


This is a warning before you read it.... I call us men out to be the game changers, not the ladies.  (chauvinism at it finest.)


As I mentioned to you in the last newsletter, my wife and I have been through the the 2008 epic debacle and this is worse. Why is it worse? because when the financial crises hit in 2008, businesses were still open and you could make a deal with a hand shake. Now, you have a hard time finding your vendors open and if they are, you can’t touch them with a 6 foot pole. The 2008 crisis led me to have fears in a whole new way. I feared my business would close down, my marriage would not withstand the stress, my children would go without, my friends would go MIA and my reputation would be defined by 'failure'.   All of these areas were effected by the crisis (and my thinking)  and I had to stand on the only solid foundation I knew besides granite.


I realize the audience reading this come from a wide range of spiritual beliefs and I have only but to respect you for the decision of God or no God in your life. But as for me and my faith, I stood as much as I could on the words of Jesus Christ found in the bible. You see, I had to experience the same fallout as most of you and my circumstances weren't any easier or harder. It was just different and plain miserable and this economic fallout is looking very familiar.  My 10 cent comments are to hopefully help you see past the pain and fear and rely on promises you made at the alter before this ever took place.  I have prayed that you will persevere through this unforgettable time in our history.



I'm fully Man.


Because I'm fully man, I can relate to you men. Men, you are more to your wives and children then you may know or how society defines you. For as many super hero movies are made about women who can kick or kill 50 men with her bare hands is as ridiculous as one man kicking or killing 50 men with his bare hands. It's a movie and for some, a fantasy, not reality. I enjoy my 90 minutes of beat em up fantasy as any man but I feel much more confident living in reality. The reality is that our wives and girlfriends are looking to us to be something they intended us to be....reliable. 


Probably one of the most important reliability factors is "safety".  Emotionally safe that is. Can she feel safe to cry, safe to yell, safe to insult you, safe to blame you, safe to break something, safe to get drunk and puke? Knowing that you will not react in anger, rejection, judgement, abandonment, child like behavior, cursing, insults, defensiveness and the like. 


We might not think we act like this but I assure you, if you ask her if you sometimes respond like this, (and if she feels safe) she will most likely answer "yes" and will explain in detail for as much time as you give her. Tip: Don't ask her in bed! If you already have a very ‘safe’ relationship then you are ahead of the game. But if you don’t then please consider what I have to say.


I would like every woman who wants a ‘safe’ man to raise her hand. See? Ladies, there isn’t much you can do to create a ‘safe’ man except clearly communicate what that looks like for you. A man HAS TO DECIDE IN HIS MIND  that he will do everything in his being to be that for his lady and even though there are many circumstances that test this, our  2020 economic fallout surely will! Men, these next few weeks and throughout the year we are expected to feel some degree of fear and that fear will spill out to those around you. I testify that I already have reacted in my fear and I needed to frequently reexamine my decision to be a ‘safe’ person every day and all the time!  Both to my wife and children.  This is not easy!


We men have ‘triggers’ that cause us to explode or shrink back. I ask you to consider not doing either.  In short, an explosive reaction causes fear and conflict and shrinking back causes, you guessed it...fear and conflict.  I know you don’t want to do anything that causes fear and conflict so get yourself prepared to win your wife’s heart, maintain your promises made to her and get through this pandemic together.  



Tips from Uncle Bob. You may want to have a beer after this. 


1.  Decide to spend time together with no phone or social media device. This is the best way to just be together and not distracted by the world around us. Make this a priority whether it’s 3 hours or a day. If you can afford it, make it 2-3 days. The key is to have no distractions! Distractions kill close relationship.



 2. Decide to not spend hours glued to the news cycle.  The news is chock full of competing stories that fill our minds with fear and worry. Think about it. Before all this happened we understood that the news media kept us coming back by presenting bad news, not necessarily truth. It’s  a money maker. So in order to keep making advertisement money, they need to keep you glued. The more you watch the more they make and you will only get more irritated and anxiety ridden. I assure you, that 1 hour a day is enough to get all the information you need. Don’t over eat the news it's obesity for the brain.


3. Do not raise your voice.  Some of you are just loud. For you this will be tough but not impossible. Raising your voice, cursing and outbursts are not calming for the family and only cause more fear and anxiety. Even though your family may be used to it doesn’t make it any better. Try to practice self control and lower the volume.


4. Do not interrupt.  If there is one thing that frustrates us is when someone interrupts us. The reason is because we do not feel heard. And when we are not heard, we feel misunderstood, and when we feel misunderstood, we feel disconnected. Do you really want to be disconnected? No you don’ don’t interrupt! Guys, I’m asking you to do something that may seem impossible. I want to to apologize when you interrupt and shut your mouth. And when she interrupts, you allow her to do that and talk it out. I know this seems unfair, but this is not about fairness, and it never is, it’s about being connected! Ladies need to speak out there feelings and emotions... a lot. I always say to men, “If you don’t like the fact that your wives talk to much, then you should have married a man.”


5. Trust her perspective.  She is SMART!  I realized that my wife is brilliant and when I doubt her opinion, (even though it might not be 100% correct, and please don't tell her I said that.) I question her brilliance. Allow her thoughts and opinions to seethe into yours and find the unity in it.  And if you think she’s not brilliant, then maybe she isn’t because she chose to be with you. Just saying.


6. She needs you to value her.  She has value beyond you but you can INCREASE HER VALUE. A man who finds her worthy, precious, and finds her lovely, gives her confidence to be the best woman she can be.  She is amazing, therefore let her know it! Think of her as a flower. When the flower is watered and cared for, it blooms with natural beauty. If we neglect it, it wilts. She’s a flower not a weed.  Maybe you ought to give her a flower and tell her that! 


7. Be passionate. When we talk about affection we can’t avoid talking about sensual touch. Hugs, kissing, touching and love making are all essential to a closer relationship. If you are not feeling intimate it most likely has to do with too many worries or competing thoughts. We must be INTENTIONAL about showing passionate loving care, it doesn’t always come natural. When we met our spouse we were all passionate about one another. Why change that now? It was and is a key to the valuing of the relationship.  Hug her a lot, even if she doesn’t seem to want it! Hug the people you truly love. 


8. Love what you hate. This is one of the best advises ever given to me and a few guys while on a golf course presented by a marriage counselor. He said that there will be things said and done by our wives that we will hate. We can let those things increase our hate or we can let them shape our better character. You see, to learn forgiveness you must be wronged, to learn patience you must be prevented from getting your way, to learn how to be calm you need to stressed. If you want want to be strong for your spouse then LOVE WHAT YOU HATE.  


Ladies, you are amazing and uniquely needed in a mans life. Trust your gut and follow your conscience. 

 3. I‘M calling B.S.   (Part 2)


If you didn’t read the first newsletter then I recommend you do so because it may help this section make more sense. I asked a very direct question that is not easy to ask. “How many lives should we lose before we shut down a country economically?” I have asked over a dozen sincere people this question and no one can answer it, but thats the most common reason they justify the shut down. Statistically the amount of lives lost is minute to the amount of lives normally lost from, let’s say for example, a flu virus. So what’s the difference?  Fear.


Fear has launched this pandemic in the most life altering way. A major portion of the human race has decided that they will do what the ‘experts’ say to do and be convinced there is a virus that will take the lives of “x” number of people and they have chosen to surrender their freedoms and livelihood...willingly.  Don’t take this personally if this describes you because I fully understand why you take your position.


I don't want to ignore the increase in deaths as one reader noted on the comments reminding me the death rate has increased...of course it will! It's now up to approximately 200,000 world wide. (World population: 7,577,130,400 ‘billion’). ( Noted 42,000 at the time of the last newsletter)


Why not compare it to deaths of a normal flu virus? (And yes, it is similarly the same. It’s a virus). 


This is from the WHO. 14 Dec, 2017 News Release

Up to 650 000 deaths annually are associated with respiratory diseases from seasonal influenza, according to new estimates by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), the World Health Organization and global health partners. This marks an increase on the previous global estimate of 250 000 – 500 000, which dates from over ten years ago and covered all influenza-related deaths, including cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The new figures of 290 000 – 650 000 deaths are based on more recent data from a larger, more diverse group of countries, including lower middle income countries, and exclude deaths from non-respiratory diseases.

Have you thought about the loss afterwards?


This is a very real deal and I had to come to grips with it. I have been given evil eyes because I walk around without my ‘dust’ mask, fashion shield or my germ ridden gloves. And now there’s talk about taking off our shoes before going into homes.  I have nothing against not wearing shoes in someone’s house, but not because of a weak virus (excuse me, it's now called a 'fragile' virus). Have you considered where this can lead us if the fear continues?


 True consequences you need to know, and I’m picking only one:             Suicide


“Suicide is one of the leading cause of death for Americans – and it’s a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide.”


Before you think I’m being insensitive (again) you must know that in 2019 our family had to experience a precious friend of the family and our son and daughters best friend take her life. Everyday we take care of her dog is a reminder of her precious and beautiful soul. A good friend in my bible study shared how recently their son took his life unexpectantly and how not a day goes by they don’t think about their son. Some of you have also lost a family or friend from suicide and it’s an ache in the heart that lives with us forever. Please do not think I’m speaking on this subject without a high degree of empathy or ignorance.  


Anne Schuchat said Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide.


Lyn Morris, senior Vice President of clinical operations at Didi Hirsch said, “We know that the longer this (the shutdown) goes on, unfortunately, the more losses there will be — not just lives but also economic. And the more hopeless and helpless people become, the more at risk they are for substance use, depression and other mental health issues.”


The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year (in the world) approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.


 Glenn Sullivan, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the Virginia Military Institute and a clinical psychologist in private practice in Lexington, Virginia. Wrote in Psychology Today.

“... The U.S. suicide rate has already increased every year for the past two decades...People (like me) who are concerned about the number of people who die by suicide each year in the United States...I fear that factors other than firearm ownership will drive an increase in the 2020 and 2021 suicide rates. We are already seeing a vast increase in unemployment claims just in the first weeks of the coronavirus emergency. As the economy slows and then grinds to a halt, some economists have forecast levels of unemployment comparable to the Great Depression, when 1 in 4 Americans were out of work.


The U.S. suicide rate was 12.1 per 100,000 from 1920 to 1928 during the Roaring Twenties. After the stock market crash of 1929, the suicide rate skyrocketed 50% to 18.1 per 100,000. The suicide rate over the next decade of economic depression (1930-1940) stayed at a terribly high 15.4 per 100,000, until the national emergency of World War II, when it declined significantly.


Unemployment is a well-established risk factor for suicide. In fact, 1 in 3 people who die by suicide are unemployed at the time of their deaths. For every one-point increase in the unemployment rate, the suicide rate tends to increase .78 points. One of the silent drivers of our current suicide crisis is the high percentage of working-age men not participating in the labor force.


In 2018, the U.S. suicide rate was already at 14.8 per 100,000—dangerously close to those Great Depression rates. The average rate between 2008 and 2018 was about 13.1 per 100,000. If the U.S. rate jumps in the same manner it did after the 1929 stock market crash, then the national suicide rate could rise to 16.6 per 100,000. In other words, 2021 could see more than 54,000 deaths by suicide (versus about 48,000 in 2018). The 6,000 excess deaths—which I fervently hope do not occur—would be additional victims of the coronavirus emergency and its economic impact”

Wow!  Citizens accepted the models and predictions of the Corona Virus with almost no resistance because they... (Oh no here goes Marks insensitivity again)  did not want to see or hear of people dying. I do believe most people are concerned about death but to be consistent then what about the deaths from this global shutdown due to suicide and other life threatening contributors? The numbers speak for themselves.

Total deaths in the United States from Coronavirus so far                                       44,500 (at the time of writing)

Total predictions of Coronavirus deaths made April 2.                178,000

Total predictions of Coronavirus deaths made after April 5          81,000

Total predictions of Coronavirus deaths made on April 8              60,000         

(The exaggerated predictions and the actuals will soon intersect)

Total suicides in the United States in 2018.                                                              48,000          

Total additional deaths predicted in 2020 - 2021. (12 months)              6,000        (Total 54,000)

"What’s your point Mark?"

That we shut down a world economy for the “predicted” deaths but we do not give a hint of concern for the “predicted” deaths of those who will suffer the consequences of this fear pandemic. And we haven’t discussed the “predicted” rise in drug and alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, marital affairs, loss of retirement money, bankruptcy, poverty and family division. We believed the models and instead of saying, “Hell No!” We accepted the premise. Now what are we going to do? Wait?

I came across this 16 minute video that makes a point about the B.S. many of us are feeling. Listen to it or not, agree or not, but don’t dismiss his educated perspective. I try very hard to not be bias but hear others while I consider the facts! 















PRICES: $20 per flower or 6 for $100.














Let’s help America get back to work and save lives!


Our contractor referral of the month:  Paul with All Good Electrical

Call Paul @ 714-277-2128 


Keep the fight and don't be afraid to "Call B.S."


May God bless you all.  




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Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1

    Julie Bertrand (Monday, 27 April 2020 14:08)

    Woodstone Renovations stands behind this sentiment .. 1,000% THANK YOU, for voicing it, and getting it out there! We have to stop this non-sense!

  • #2

    Steve Davidson (Monday, 27 April 2020 14:12)

    Well stated Mark.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Stay Safe, God Bless

  • #3

    Faith (Tuesday, 28 April 2020 11:55)

    The real truth is in Jesus. Our Savior.
    We need to start make signs to "stop the madness". Stop making masks.

  • #4

    Mark Ortiz (Tuesday, 28 April 2020 20:48)

    Thank you Julie, Steve and Faith!

    Let’s get the truth out and Stand up for a Free America! God bless you.

  • #5

    Mark Ortiz (Tuesday, 28 April 2020 21:37)

    Thank you Woodstone! Keep marketing , calling everyone and may you maintain a prosperous year because You didn’t let fear determine your best next move!

  • #6

    Debbie (Wednesday, 06 May 2020 13:00)

    I absolutely loved your message...ALL of it! Thank you for sharing!

  • #7

    Douglas Leeds (Monday, 15 June 2020 21:27)

    I finally read your articles. I am impressed with your courage but I am more impressed with your faith. If only more of the world had your faith, we would not be dealing with this pandemic in the way it has been run by our government. Why are politicians able to make these decisions that affect so many lives? Too much government and not enough faith in our Creator and his son, our Lord and Savior.