How do some people get by

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  #1  
Old 02-25-16, 10:01 AM
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How do some people get by

Last weekend I got a call from a friend. A hot water pipe burst in his finished basement and he was looking for help to figure out how to fix the damage. He did not know where his water shut off was located and he ended up calling an emergency plumber. By the time the plumber got there he had quite a mess. The plumber fixed his leak and showed him where the main shut off was and charged him $300 which he thought was steep and I thought was very reasonable if you add in the ignorance costs fee. Yesterday I went over and installed ball valves to isolate the plumbed areas of the house and I brought him a temp repair kit for a burst pipe. Outside of fixture stops the only valve in the house was the cold water on his HW tank.

This morning my neighbor called. She was late for work because she could not get her car out of the garage. The door wouldn't open because we had lost power. I went over, pulled the release handle and opened the door. Her response was "I always wondered what that was for".

Both of these people have lived in their houses for many years.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 10:18 AM
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There's no cure for stupid!

The plumbing problem I can kind of understand. But yes the main valve should be known to all house hold members. And it should be worked at least twice a year. BTW... I agree $300 for that call was low considering.

The garage door release is just plain stupid. That's a basic safety issue. I might understand if the person was old or incapacitated and unable to release it, but not to know what it's for is, well, stupid!

The big point here is if you're going to be a home owner then you need to know basic things about a home.

And to answer your title question... People like us are available!
 
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Old 02-25-16, 11:12 AM
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the [garage] door wouldn't open because we had lost power.
I painted a house for a couple shortly before I retired. He was the vice president of a local tire chain and she was a school teacher. They moved in shortly before the house was completely finished. The electrician's helper installed the plates on the receptacles and when he did the ones on the garage ceiling he left all 3 openers unplugged. They didn't go to work the next morning because they couldn't push a button and open the garage doors When the owner of the garage door company came to trouble shoot the problem he plugged the units in and explained to them about the pull rope - they replied they saw the rope but was scared if they pulled on it the garage door would fall down.

I had a kid tell me he religiously checked the oil on his car and when it was a quart low he had trouble pouring the quart into the little dip stick tube

It does make you wonder how some folks make it thru life!
 
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Old 02-25-16, 11:54 AM
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Had a customer who when I asked where the breaker box didn't have a clue what I was talking about. This wa a lady in her 50's who had just told me about growing up in the house and later buying it from her parents. 50+ years in the house and didn't have a clue where the breaker box was.

As to garage doors once had a customer who needed help getting her car out when the GDO failed do to a storm. Go out and find a detached garage with no entrance door and the installers had not ran the safety release to the outside. One small window, locked on the inside of course. I had to tell her I can probably get in but I may have to break something.
 

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Old 02-25-16, 12:20 PM
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Why would anyone build a detached garage without a man door??? THAT's a little on the ignorant side.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 12:27 PM
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Norm - Don't confuse stupid with ignorant. Ignorant is simply not knowing. Everyone is ignorant about some things. Stupid, however is not fixable.

The guy with the plumbing is a very successful medical professional and my neighbor is a retired and widowed retail manager. She was the wife of a very good friend and he took care of things so that she didn't have to. Neither of them are anywhere near stupid.

My intention wasn't to point fingers at these people as stupid - it was just my wonderment that some people don't seem to have an interest in how things work in their home.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 12:43 PM
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Why would anyone build a detached garage without a man door??? THAT's a little on the ignorant side.

Larry
Agreed.

On a similar note, on attached garages the norm seems to be to put the man way door on the far side and same end as the large bay door. That seems stupid to me. It makes more sense to put the man way door towards the inside, opposite the end of the bay door. If you need to walk all the way to the far side of the garage, around the cars, then you might as well open the bay door.

 
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Old 02-25-16, 12:57 PM
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Norm - Don't confuse stupid with ignorant. Ignorant is simply not knowing. Everyone is ignorant about some things. Stupid, however is not fixable.
You're correct. Bad choice of words that I used. What might seem obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to those not familiar with certain things.

However, owning a home requires some knowledge and is the responsibility of the home owner to acquire that knowledge. The bit with the garage door release borders on stupid only because it should have a safety tag on it and the owner should make oneself knowledgeable with equipment that requires egress to and from a house.

Now days a home without a smoke alarm is stupid on the owners part. Not knowing where or how to locate and mount them is ignorance that can be corrected.

She was the wife of a very good friend and he took care of things so that she didn't have to.
Almost everyday I get the widow who comes in the store asking for help on small home repairs. The Hubby who passed away took care of everything.

Guy's, don't do a dis-service to your wives. Show them how to handle simple repairs or make them aware of what needs servicing on a regular basis.
 
  #9  
Old 02-25-16, 01:50 PM
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My son was on a Habitat for Humanity trip with a group from college in the NY City area. The kids were 18-21 years. They had 2 fifteen passenger vans driving together from South Carolina back to NY. One van had a driver that did not notice the "low gas" warning until a passenger pointed it out. They were able to exit and fill up. When they switched drivers, the next driver had a middle of the shift with pretty much all passengers asleep. He too, missed the low gas warning light. This time, my son awoke to the feel of the very quiet van coasting to side of the road. Since the vans were traveling together, the second van was able to continue to the next exit to buy a can of gas and return. The next "challenge" was how to get the gas into the van. My son sat in the relative warmth of the van and watched these college students struggle with how to accomplish this task. He knows very well how to gas into a vehicle but found it more entertaining to watch. It, evidently, was quite funny.

As we talked about it later, it seems that many kids growing up around NY city use public transportation and therefore do not own cars. If they have access to one, they don't do much driving and therefore do not have a great deal of experience behind the wheel - certainly not when it comes to pumping gas. For those that came from New Jersey (a similarly large portion of the crowd), they suffered from NJ state laws the require full service at gas stations.

All this simply relates to people being knowledgeable and comfortable with what they have been exposed to and therefore the converse as well. Any kid on this trip could have had an opportunity to pump gas at some point in his life and probably chose not to make it a priority to learn how. similarly, the widow(er) that is unaware of locating water shutoff, how the checkbook is managed or how to release the garage door opener has allowed themselves to be cared for. While that is a very pleasant and thrilling feeling to have someone take care of your every need, it is really a disservice in many ways if never given an opportunity to learn the required skills or knowledge.

By the way, we happened to have a couple of the kids from this group stay over at our home in Ohio after the Habitat trip. He was a little peeved to find out that my son chose to watch them struggle from comfort of the warm van when he knew how to pour the gas can into the van. I was proud and disappointed at the same time.

- Peter
 
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Old 02-25-16, 02:23 PM
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Part of the problem lies in the fact that we are no wheres self sufficient, even at the most basic level. That's a reflection on our society. But now I'm teetering on the political and we don't want to go there.

Pjaffe, you are correct about how and where we are brought up. I doubt most of us can imagine what it's like to be on a farm. I'm betting most of us (and me in particular) would look pretty "stupid" in the eyes of a farmer if we had to work on a farm. The difference is that most of us would be able and be willing to learn.

Which brings up an anecdote. Years back my wife was a driver ed teacher (one of the few if not the only female diver teacher in the state at the time). Before taking any students out on the road she would quiz, then teach them about the basics of how a car and an internal combustion engine worked. Not so the other teachers. The lighter side of this is how the teenage boys would become very timid when addressed about how a car actually worked.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 05:04 PM
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Back in the old days there was Home Ec for the girls. What schools need today is a "General Knowledge For Life" class for all the students. One that covers everything mentioned here plus more.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 05:16 PM
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My parents had their hot water heater die recently and so they had a plumber come and install a new one, complete with earthquake strap and all the code required stuff.

They noticed inmediatley that the hot water recirculating pump was not work as it had before to deliver instant hot water.


Which is often what happens when you install the check valve backwards . Of course to fix that he had to drain the tank which was fun since he had forgot to install a drain valve when he hooked up the hot water return to the factory drain.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 05:27 PM
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What schools need today is a "General Knowledge For Life" class for all the students.
I agree with that 100%!!!!!
 
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Old 02-25-16, 06:41 PM
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My detached garage has a man door. We seldom use it and only lock it when we leave for overnight or longer. We use the car HomeLink feature or a remote in the house to open the garage door for entry. A couple of years ago we returned from a weekend trip and the HomeLink didn't work. Of course the man door was locked and the keys were left conveniently hanging alongside the door. I too had to break something.

I could have gone in the house to get the GDO remote in my desk. Not stupid - just forgetful.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 07:02 PM
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What schools need today is a "General Knowledge For Life" class for all the students.
Oh, they have that in a lot of schools...but they teach about handling credit cards, shopping for the best interest rates, and bank accounts, not how to make a household budget, shop smart, or do minor repairs.
 
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Old 02-25-16, 08:33 PM
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I agree they really need to teach kids how to do general repairs. Some adults need to take the same course. so that general home repair course needs to be taken together with the parent and child. I once had a neighbor who lived across the street from us who is very well educated in computers with a masters degree. Apparently not so well educated when it concerns chicken bones and toilets though. You guessed it he flushed the bones down the toilet and then couldn't figure out why his toilet was clogging.

Finally he borrowed our toilet auger and a plunger we have but after many attempts he still couldn't figure out why it was still clogged. So he thanked me for the use of the auger and plunger and then I suggested a plumber. I never did find out how much the plumber charged but probably plenty. He probably got a good laugh out of that job too as I doubt he had many calls for chicken bones. I felt really sorry for him poor guy but I know he learned a valuable lesson that day.
 
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