Handymen?

handymanBefore I start my post just wanted to say I’m 3 posts from my 1000th post.  Can you believe it?  Do any of you have ideas of what I should do for post 1000?  I’d love suggestions.

Anyway, when I purchased my home one of my concerns was how I would handle repairs. I am not a very detail oriented person and so things like repairs or assembly I am not great at.  When I was at the rental I could call the landlord and have things taken care of easy-peasy.  The few times I was put in charge of a repair project at my Dad’s rentals it did not go very well.  I’m great at making calls but not the actual labor part.

In addition, my father, who is great at such things, is in California and I don’t have anyone else in my family nearby who is able to help.  (And it doesn’t have to be a man but I don’t know any women either). You see why I was concerned before the move!

Luckily I have a new house so things have been relatively incident free.  However, the last few weeks I had to fix a pocket door handle and install a new kitchen faucet.  My Mom’s cousin fixed the door but I had a hard time finding anyone to help me with the faucet.

I put it on my facebook I needed help.  Asking my friends if they knew anyone who was handy and could help me wiht the faucet.  To my surprise the answer was no.  And then I called my home teacher and he couldn’t think of anyone either.  Eventually I texted a friend and her brother in law came over and the faucet was installed.

Still, I was surprised how few men out there have basic handyman skills.  It seems like it wasn’t that long ago when such abilities were standard operating procedure for men.  I guess that’s a stereotype so maybe it is a good thing but are we also raising kids without practical skills?  I certainly don’t have those kind of abilities so I can’ t judge anyone else but it does seem like a little bit of a loss.

Shouldn’t we be teaching these kinds of skills to both boys and girls?  I do know how to change a flat tire and check my oil but things around the house I am totally clueless.  I guess I always had a Dad who could do those things and I assumed there would be people like that in my life.  Now at least I’ve found that to be tough to find.

Luckily after about 2 weeks of searching I found my friends brother in law but it was quite the needle in the haystack! It shouldn’t be that hard.

What do you think?  Should we be teaching these type of home repair skills to kids or is it just a new era where we are all digital and that kind of work is hired out? It seems like a loss and it certainly makes life tough for us single girls sometimes!

At least I have a new faucet installed.  Hurray!

10 thoughts on “Handymen?

  1. Yes, children should be taught these skills, as well as to be given plenty of unstructured time to improvise and invent things, games and manual hobbies. But it’s never too late to learn such skills, although even in the Church, that aspect of preparedness has always seemed to just get lip service. That’s one thing that has always disappointed me about Relief Society. I’ve filled out many “skill and talent surveys” since April, 1977, but none of them has ever resulted in any kind of sustained personal improvement curriculum for what was called “homemaking meeting” when I joined the Church. The time was frittered away with making cutesy home decor busywork projects that sported hand-painted inspirational slogans, interspersed with amateur pop psychology group therapy “workshops” aimed at improving women’s morale, but which, because they weren’t conceived of nor run by mental health professionals, were ineffective at best, and at worst, resulted in harm. Whenever I had anything to do with a “homemaking leader” calling, I tried to organize the program to include practical skills, but except for a single “powder-puff mechanics” demo done by a woman who had been raised to do such things, I never had any takers for instructor roles, and although I was qualified to teach a wide variety of skills, I was never called upon by other “leaders” to do so. The powers-that-be went through a lot of brain-straining to reinvent magnificent, inspiring titles for that aspect of Relief Society (it’s cycled through “homemaking” to “home management” to “home and family education” and back again), but they also cut down on the frequency of the weekday meetings. It would do a lot more for women’s self-esteem to teach them cooking; cleaning; knitting; crochet; clothing creation, alteration and repairs; agriculture; auto mechanics; carpentry, woodworking, and furniture construction and repair; plumbing and other “Ask This Old House” stuff, and then have them introduce those things to the Young Women. (Thanks for the loan of the soapbox. You can have it back, now.)

  2. Rant away and I completely agree. In the singles ward we did a lot more of that kind of practical instruction and activities but family wards have so few activities (at least my ward) that most of the time it is a dinner of some kind with a speaker, which is fine but I do wish sometimes I got more practical help. A while back I went to a seminar ‘dealing with emotions and handling stress in the workplace’ and it was fantastic. So insightful and really helped me with my job. I walked away thinking ‘why didn’t I get this from church?’. Couldn’t everyone use this kind of practical advice?

    Oh well. I guess I always assumed men were given more training on such things compared to women but I haven’t found that to be the case. I thought it would be easy to find a spouse of a friend or guy in the ward who could help me on such things but I got crickets. Luckily after a couple of weeks I found my friends brother in law but it wasn’t easy. Interesting.

  3. I know what you mean. My FIL is very handy and my husband is less so. He can get most things done with the help of the internet and a phone call to his dad. I usually fix small things myself, squeaky doors, sagging cabinet doors, that kind of thing, but in general it seems like we’re less likely to do repairs ourselves than our parents were.

    1. Yeah I guess I always assumed boys got that kind of training in scouts and young mens but turns out they don’t. Very surprising.

  4. I don’t know if it’s feasible to raise all people to know these skills. Some people have their talents and some people don’t. I certainly know I wouldn’t be able to help you out, at any rate.

    I have one unpleasant story, when my father was trying to hire a handyman for help around the house. He insisted on only going by the name “Tony”, giving out no last name, and his handyman service in general was suspicious, as he seemed to do the primary work himself and I am not sure he even advertised in the paper. He may have left his flyers in our mailbox.

    Anyway he started asking my father suspicious questions. The neighbor’s dog barked at him next door and he asked my father if it was his dog even though that made no sense. He then asked him if he was going anywhere for the holidays, and my father called the police to inquire about him but was told they could not release the information. He had also heard about crooked handyman dealings going on in the newspapers not long before.

    He tried to convince the handyman to leave calmly, but eventually confronted him and made it clear he was suspicious and his services were not wanted. He also ordered him to sign his name, and after he at first was refusing he eventually signed it in completely illegible cursive. Another reason I think he may have been a criminal was my father also tried to discourage him from coming back by saying he does not support gun control, and the handyman said “Fine, I agree with you, I own several”. (Even if he has the right I don’t see why your average handyman would feel the need to own several guns.)

    Since then my father made no attempt to get a new handyman and we thankfully have had no problems with that one again.

    1. Yikes! After the Elizabeth Smart incident here in Utah we were all reminded you have to be cautious. That’s why I was hoping my friends would know someone I could trust. It seems like more people used to have these skills especially we are talking about small things like installing a faucet not major plumbing work. To call a plumber would have cost me about $150. It seems like it was more common in my Dads generation.

      That’s a very scary story. Im glad everyone was ok.

      1. Congratulations on getting close to 1000 posts, though! I just don’t feel inspired to write long posts for my blog that much, so I find it hard to imagine me ever getting that far.

        1. Thanks! It’s my little way of giving back to the world. How great that the thrill of authorship and expression from writing isnt limited to the few any more.

  5. Guys shouldn`t have to be expected to know this stuff when girl`s don`t, or to have a natural knack for it. Like you said, we should teach it to girls and boys.

    1. Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right . I guess that’s a little bit of old fashioned thinking still hanging on me that I did expect that men would know how to do those things or at least a few men. But I agree we should teach both men and women. I would have liked to have learned but it was a small space so not really practical for a teaching moment. I think it is just something about my generation that we didn’t learn those kind of skills. (I could set up the website for the handyman!).

      I guess maybe it surprises me a little bit because in young women’s we learned all kinds of traditional ‘female’ things so maybe that is why I expected men to learn traditionally male things young mens. But it is a good experience to throw off some of those silly stereotypes we all hold on to from time to time. I just wish I could find a good handyman or woman to help me on my house. I’m still on the hunt!

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