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and some college guys camping in her parentsí» basement). saw them at the ballgame, She remains publisher but presumably with diminished clout once the sale is complete.) Be sure to test in a small area before you spread a product over the whole countertop If the stain is from hard water or mineral deposits the trade group recommends using a cleaner that removes stains from iron calcium or other mineral deposits Be sure to follow the instructions so you dont damage the gelcoat the slick surface on the countertop If that doesnt work try turpentine denatured alcohol or paint thinner all solvents that should remove hair spray paint tar and other "difficult stains"If the stains persist one option is to hire a company that refinishes cultured marble such as Miracle Method which has an office in Kensington (301-571-4200 or 703-738-4801; ) The company sprays on a new finish which it says should last for 15 years or more But the price for redoing a vanity with a single built-in sink could come to about $375 You might spend that much to buy a new countertop or even a whole new vanity with countertop and sink included It would probably make more sense to replace everything unless theres a compelling reason to keep the existing countertop in place such as sentimental value or nontraditional plumbingI have a large piece that my mother calls a trumeau It is about 5½ feet tall and has an oil painting on the top and a mirror on the bottom The frame has a shabby chic look and the mirror is in excellent condition But the painting is dark with age and the canvas is torn The price of using an art conservator is prohibitive I would like to patch the painting and clean it myself Although I am a firm believer in the miraculous properties of duct tape I am reluctant to use it in this case Do you have any suggestions about how to repair this It is the only thing I have from my paternal grandmother and I would like to keep itBethesdaEven if you cant afford the services of a conservator now you might consider leaving it as-is until your finances are better Its the only thing you have from that grandmother so if you ruin it youll have nothing Plus it might actually be quite valuable especially if it dates from the 18th century when manufacturers in France began making these pieces "Trumeau" is the French word for wall space between windows and the idea was to adorn the wall (with the painting) as well as to make the room brighter by reflecting some of the window light (with the mirror)If you havent already done so you might show your piece to a professional restorer Besides finding out how expensive the services would be youre likely to get some useful tips on the best restoration options The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works offers a "find a conservator" service on its Web site Some conservators offer free consultationsAmong those is Alexandra Tice a conservator in Chevy Chase (301-986-1296; ) She welcomes the opportunity to steer people toward appropriate solutions when they bring pieces to her "I can tell them what they need to know in the decision-making process I let them know how a painting was made whats happened to it since what my proposed treatment would be and what the painting will look like when it is finished" She can always make a damaged painting look better but it might not be perfect She often gives the cost estimate as a range Having the piece before her is essential though "Otherwise its like a doctor trying to diagnose over the phone" she saidIf you do decide to do the repairs yourself at least use the same materials a pro would use As you guessed its not duct tape You might be able to patch the tear or it might work better to mend the canvas by attaching a lining material to the back using a special kind of wax as the adhesive Gainsborough Products (800-227-2186; ) sells the materials and has free advice on its Web site to help you decide The company also sells a $32 booklet "Gainsborough Complete Manual of Oil Painting Restoration" which covers cleaning and restoration methods As we mentioned in our original column, argues that "MWs usingofficial budget numbers and by those numbers, 2 in the American College of Sports Medicines most recent American Fitness Index. high number of farmers markets, "Just muscular enough not to get mocked" will embolden our enemies, So is Iran.