The Fading Art of The Home Handyman
When something breaks down, what do you do?
Nothing hits the wallet (and ruins your budget) like repairs, right? Such as those repairs that are needed when you least expect them on a major household appliance, or your car, or the garage door opener.
So you can imagine my dread when, a few months ago, I discovered that we had no hot water!
I was going to take a shower and I reached in, turned on the water, and set it at the 8:00 position. You’ll know what I mean if you have that single handle in your shower where you adjust your water temperature by setting it in a “clock” pattern. I put it on 8:00 so it runs and gets nice and warm, then when I get in, I can set it to 8:30ish so it’s perfect! Unfortunately, not this time.
Well, I am one of the lucky ladies whose husband is what is commonly known as a Handyman. He has learned over the years how to do all kinds of different repairs from cars, motorcycles, mowers, and all his other “toys.” He can do minor plumbing and wiring, move and outlet or switch, install ceiling lights, and make some repairs on major appliances too. He has fixed my washer, dryer, ice maker, and dishwasher.
He has even replaced the motor in my car when one blew up, etc. So I guess I have always been spoiled that way. We get by easy on repairs on many things because I know he can always do it. You might pay $250 to get something repaired, but my husband just buys the part for $20 and puts it in himself.
How much have we saved over the years? Thousands. Probably tens of thousands of dollars.
I know my husband learned the Art of the Home Handyman from his Dad who was the same type of guy. My husband is very conceptual in his thinking . If he looks at it and takes it apart, he can see what is not working and then put it all back together with a new part.
Now me? I am the total opposite. Booking learning, remembering facts, even odd historical things etc.
But I can’t unfold and refold the baby stroller when I get it out of the trunk of the car. Seriously.
But who will be the Handyman in the future? These arts of a “Shade Tree Mechanic” are quickly becoming a thing of the past. And for two big reasons.
1. Everything is electronic these days. Harder and more expensive to fix.
2. Parents don’t know how to do it themselves, so they are not passing the knowledge on to their children.
Automobiles are becoming more and more electronic these days. Back in the day, no matter what was wrong with my car, my husband could fix it. I didn’t have to budget much for car repairs like oil changes, mufflers, shocks, struts, motor mounts….those are a few of the things I can remember and give a name.
These days cars are controlled by electronics and auto electronics are not something my husband has learned. But his work ethic has moved on to his son and daughter. Both are not afraid to tackle anything. My daughter will pull apart the toilet tank and work on that “chain and flapper thingy” without hesitation. She can conceptualize it just like her father.
My son has inherited the “take it apart and tinker around with it” talent. And it has led him into a career choice. He will not hesitate to take apart a computer and fix it or “upgrade it” with new graphics cards or sound cards. Different hard drives and other terms I don’t know. It seems to me all young people do that these days, or maybe the group he was with during school all were cut from the same cloth.
But the days of the home handyman are fading fast. It is not something that most men (or women) do these days in our busy and hectic lives. Nor can we take back the old days.
All of us are slaves to our electronic devices, aren’t we?