This week preparedness has been on my mind.  I even wrote about it.  Yesterday it was very apparent that we – meaning me – have become lazy.  Or worse did not know how to fix things in the beginning.

THE INCIDENT:  The water in our town tastes horrid to me.  I have to admit I am spoiled by the well water we have had and do have elsewhere.  We prefer to drink the filtered very cold water that comes from the refrigerator.  That sentence in and of itself speaks to laziness doesn’t it?  What happened to an ice cube in a glass of water?  Ice cube made from a tray in which you have put water and set in your freezer not have it spit out of a chute in the door of the appliance!

I went to get a glass of water and nothing happened.  The water did not come out.  To this I said out loud to the general public, “The water in the fridge is not working.”  I tried again and then almost in a panic I said the same thing only louder.  I do not know what I expected.  Was the tone of my voice going to make this thing magically work?  Was my husband going to turn into Mighty Mouse and save the day?  Fact is the water in the fridge does not work and the ice cub maker and the crushed ice maker do.  Do I call a repairman for this? Not sure.

THE POINT: What it brought about in my mind is that many of us have become very reliant on our conveniences.  Could we do without?  Further I was thinking of all the disposable stuff we use.  Do we not know some basic skills to fix things to reuse them?

I pondered.

Our son show his son over Christmas how to make wind chimes for gifts.  I knew it was in creation.  When I opened it Christmas morning I was duly appreciative and of course tearful.DCF 1.0

{This Grandmama cries when a pin drops.  Poor Caleb our 8 yr old grandson was so flummoxed when I opened a gift from him that he had made with his mom.  It was a plaster square painted in yellow with a red heart in the middle of it with other colors and glitter.  It was one of the first gifts I opened and I really started crying.  His face was priceless.  He could not understand if I was sad or what.  The teachable moment was that I was able to explain so he could understand that sometimes in Grandmama’s tears are a good thing.  Later that morning when I got teary over a gift of the movie “Serendipity” his reaction was a face and shoulder shrug that said ‘there she goes again’!}

Sorry I do get carried away.  The point was our son knew HOW to make a wind chime.DCF 1.0

What do we know HOW to do today and are not some of the skills being lost?  The fridge was given the once over and after reading the book and examination it was determined it may be beyond us.  We changed the setting and are waiting a couple of days to see what happens.

The toilet that was not working properly was fixed yesterday.  Many other chores big and small around our home are handled by us.  We call the repairman as a last resort unless it would nullify a warranty.

Could the average person fix the handle of a toilet by changing the plunger system?  Are they currently able to do the tiniest of household fixes?  Do they know how to sew to fix a seam in a pair of pants?  Do they, and I am using ‘they’ loosely and figuratively, know how to fix a car?  Change the oil?  Fix a lawnmower?  Change that wheel?  Tire?  Fix a washing machine?  How about simply cooking?

I am afraid skills are being lost.  I can sew and do most needlework projects and fixes.  I have even in my lifetime made a suit coat with welt pockets for my husband.  Used to make him wool slacks regularly zipper fly and all.  I made my wedding dress.  Granted it was simple satin with chantilly lace sleeves still I made it.

My husband can fix most things around the house.  If we added up all the repair costs we have not had to pay over these last 44 years it probably would buy us a nice little vacation somewhere.  That is not even taking into consideration all the oil he has changed in our vehicles or the mufflers or other minor car repairs.

So I ask again are we prepared?  I look at NJ/NY after Sandy and see these people having to rebuild their lives and my heart physically hurts for them.  In the next web news I see these residents all pitching in to help each other.  Communally there are probably enough skills to do it all up just right with the exception of electric or anything else that has to be hooked up to the city by union employees.  These are people of my generation and maybe older or our sons age. Could the grandchildren make these repairs or will they have to rely on the government to come to their rescue?

I have shingled a roof, doing the capping of the whole thing alone and put board and batting on that house.  It was our neighbors and she taught me how.   In one of our homes I removed one concrete columns in a basement – it was in the way of decorating – and replaced it with a post and lintel arch made of 8X8s.   The house is still standing!  I changed the tire on one of our cars over and over as there was a slow leak we could not find.  Our children have been shown all the skills we know or where to go look for information.  Their children will be educated this way as well I hope.  What of the children in our society who have no parents or parents that pay no attention or are addicted or too busy?  We need not to lose these skills.  We all need to be jack or jills of all trades or hire someone who is a jack or jill.  That is the other thing the tradesmen and skilled workers are fewer and fewer.  Hopefully they will not go the way of the needles and pins man!

You do not know the ‘needles and pins man’?  Years ago when I was a very little girl back in the dark ages a man would come to our house every year maybe twice a year and sell needles and pins.  Mumma was a seamstress on her own and worked for “Some’s Store” doing alterations in our home.  I remember little about this man except a slight figure and warm smile.  It was the same with the Grand Union Tea man who came around or the bread man or the milk man that all went door to door.  No longer.  Somewhat sad…and there it is.


One comment on “ARE WE INEPT?

  1. And I always thought our desire to “fix it” without professional help was the result of our New England upbringing–we’re true Yankees. But I could be wrong. Maybe it’s much more widespread. I, too, worry about my sons and granddaughter. What can they really fix, build, restore? My Zoo son has a broad set of skills. My barista son can cook. I have no clue what my artist son can do. Your post reminded me of my Peace Corps days when we were taught to make “planchas de yeso” (sheetrock). Oh those were the days. . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s