Author Topic: What basic stuff people are not able to do themselves - heard on radio today  (Read 29141 times)

caracarn

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I do not consider myself particularly handy, but maybe slightly above average.  My dad made me help him with home projects when I was a kid and through that I can usually figure most things out.  Certainly part of what MMM suggests is that you figure out how to do things yourself to avoid the money drain.  With that in the back of my head I listened jaw dropped to a resent study shared on the radio as I drove in to work.

They asked people about what they considered basic tasks you might need to do in daily life.  Here are some of the crazy results.  I'm covering them from "harder" tasks to easy.

Change tire:  66% do not know how
Change oil: 75% do not know how (this one was not that surprising)
CHECK oil: 50% do not know how (WHAT!?)
Change a light bulb: 20% do not know how (#$@!????)

They also added that most of the millennials surveyed said they would rather pay someone to do something than spend time to learn to do it themselves, including these basic things. 

Again, I do not consider myself a handyman, but when I've installed toilets, disassembled clogged drains, installed a dishwasher and garbage disposal and ceiling fans, I did not consider myself a master craftsman, but hearing this list (of which I have been able to do all of them since I was 12) was just amazing.

Looking forward to the conversation.

ETA:

Link to full report (DIY stuff towards the back)
https://cms.aviva.com/media/upload/Aviva_HOME_DIY_04-17_pr04.pdf
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 11:47:03 AM by caracarn »

marielle

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And even people who do know how to do this stuff can't be bothered to. A couple weeks ago future MIL said, "Do I look like someone who would be changing a tire?"

What does that even mean? If you'd rather wait potentially hours for AAA to come when you're stuck on the side of the road, be my guest. I'd rather spend 10 minutes changing a tire. If it's a dangerous road with no flat spots for a jack or something, then that's another story.

The same family thinks it's ridiculous to do any maintenance on our cars at all because we have the money not to. I would do it even if it didn't save money, it's something I enjoy doing and learning about. Why would I pay someone to do something difficult so that I can just sit on the couch watching TV longer? Accomplishing a new difficult task is satisfying and will make me much happier than relaxing and doing nothing. Humans aren't happy when there aren't obstacles to overcome.

jinga nation

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I have a 70+ year old female tenant asking me to change a table lamp's light bulb. She doesn't know how to. Never changed one. She's the ex-wife of a retired NFL player.'
Fuck people harping on millennials; every generation has it's share of stupid.
I know a lot of millennials with a can-do attitude at work, and the middle-age farts will sneer at them.

Villanelle

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If we were listing chores we didn't know how to do, "call someone to have them change a lightbulb" would be toward the top of the list.  Who do you even call for that service?!?!

WranglerBowman

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My neighbors think we're dirt poor because I never hire anyone to do anything and drive 15+ year old vehicles.  I should mention I'm also a millennial that can do just about anything.  Never ceases to amaze me what people hire others to do (ie Christmas present wrapping) and how hiring others is somehow the definition of what class you are...guess I'm just poor white trash...

691175002

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Sometimes these people have fixtures that are only reachable by ladder, which can justify hiring someone.

I find it hard to believe anyone doesn't know how to change a standard incandescent bulb, however some interior fixtures can use weird bulbs that are hard to source.  I'd probably be posting pictures of the bulbs online for help, but if you aren't comfortable with the internet your only real option is going to a hardware store and hoping someone recognizes it.

By the River

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I used to change the oil in my car but now go to one of the quick change places.  I did teach my kids how to change tires, check the battery, check oil and other minor things while I was teaching them to drive.   Recently, my 18 year old took the car to get the oil changed.  Before he left, I told him that they will try to sell air filters but they are easy to clean or replace and to not buy them.  He got home and told me that he said no to the air filters but noticed windshield wipers on the wall and told them to replace the wipers.   I took him and his brother outside and showed how easy it is take off and put on the wipers.   (face-punch to me for missing this maintenance item in the first place).       

Nothlit

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I love my grandmother, but she just learned, at age 84, how to pump gas. She's driven for decades, so how is this possible? Well, the only times she ever drove by herself were around the town where they live (which isn't so large). My grandfather always made sure to keep the tank topped off for these around-town trips. And any out-of-town trips, they both would have been together, so he always handled the refueling. Now he's no longer able to drive, so she had to learn. But, good on her, she didn't shy away from the challenge! :)

lizzzi

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I still can't fathom people who can't do simple mending: Tack up a falling down hem, sew on a button or a hook and eye that is coming loose, etc. Even my brothers and uncle could handle those tasks--not that they enjoyed sewing, but they could do it if need be. I know we could all take our stuff to the places that do alterations, but I'd be embarrassed to walk in and pay for a task like that.


Cpa Cat

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Sometimes these people have fixtures that are only reachable by ladder, which can justify hiring someone.

I find it hard to believe anyone doesn't know how to change a standard incandescent bulb, however some interior fixtures can use weird bulbs that are hard to source.  I'd probably be posting pictures of the bulbs online for help, but if you aren't comfortable with the internet your only real option is going to a hardware store and hoping someone recognizes it.

Yeah it was the ceiling height that had her seeking help.  The problem was resolved with a borrowed ladder and a borrowed telescoping bulb changer.  Just blows my mind that one would live in a home and not be equipped to change out your own light bulbs.

It didn't occur to me that vaulted ceilings are the stupidest things in the world until one day at 4am, 2 months after I bought my house, the fire detector started beeping. No one I know wants me to call them at 4am to borrow their construction grade ladder and telescoping bulb thingy.

We resorted to balancing on our ladder and smashing it off the ceiling with a broom handle.

The lightbulb up there only gets changed when someone is in our house doing work that requires a giant ladder.

Al1961

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If we were listing chores we didn't know how to do, "call someone to have them change a lightbulb" would be toward the top of the list.  Who do you even call for that service?!?!

Where's the like button on this forum?

trollwithamustache

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Self reliance isn't really valued by our society anymore.

But cut the millennials some slack. They come out of school having been taught a mess of Cr@*&P by us older generations that it turns out we like in theory but not practice. Everyone around them calls this service or that service to do stuff, so that's what they learned.  There are plenty of smart millenials out there figuring it out, but they learn to fix their cracked phone screens first not their cars so us old guys just don't know how to talk to them.

Chris22

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In fairness, there were lots of common home improvement things I didn't learn how to do until (shocking) I owned a home.  And I can see how if you are an apartment dweller, you never learned to work on a car either given that it's expressly forbidden by most apartment complexes.  Given that most millennials are just getting to homeowning age, or delaying it because of student loan debt, I get how they'd be somewhat incompetent.  Not "can't change a lightbulb" incompetent, but still, I cut them some slack.

Amusingly, my engineer dad has basically forbidden anyone from turning on their fancy 12-light chandelier in their 2-story foyer for fear of burning out a bulb (except on special occasions like a party).  He is too cheap to call someone else in to replace the bulb and too smart to risk his own neck climbing up there.  I suggested once the first bulb goes he hire someone to replace them all with LED bulbs, that's his plan now.

zolotiyeruki

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Amusingly, my engineer dad has basically forbidden anyone from turning on their fancy 12-light chandelier in their 2-story foyer for fear of burning out a bulb (except on special occasions like a party).  He is too cheap to call someone else in to replace the bulb and too smart to risk his own neck climbing up there.  I suggested once the first bulb goes he hire someone to replace them all with LED bulbs, that's his plan now.
Yeah, we have a silly two-story great room.  I recently installed recessed lighting, and opted for LED bulbs to make sure I don't have to replace them for a *really* long time.

jinga nation

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If we were listing chores we didn't know how to do, "call someone to have them change a lightbulb" would be toward the top of the list.  Who do you even call for that service?!?!

There are bunch of 'Odd Jobs' business in my city. I've seen their Ford Transits, or coupons in the Valpak mailer. They are a common sight in the 2 rich zip codes nearest to my work.

NeonPegasus

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I used to change the oil in my car but now go to one of the quick change places.  I did teach my kids how to change tires, check the battery, check oil and other minor things while I was teaching them to drive.   Recently, my 18 year old took the car to get the oil changed.  Before he left, I told him that they will try to sell air filters but they are easy to clean or replace and to not buy them.  He got home and told me that he said no to the air filters but noticed windshield wipers on the wall and told them to replace the wipers.   I took him and his brother outside and showed how easy it is take off and put on the wipers.   (face-punch to me for missing this maintenance item in the first place).     

Or you can go to the auto store, buy the wipers and ask them to install them for you (for free). Same with auto batteries. Or is that service only for women? lol

I am not as handy as I should be and I blame DH because he is so friggin' good at everything hands-on that it makes zero sense for me to do it. I do sometimes get a hair up my ass and decide to fix something. The main issue I have is not know how hard I can/should twist something without breaking it. So I take forever because I'm not being forceful enough. The other issue I have is thinking I can surely take something apart and put it together again and I'll definitely remember how to do it and then .... I forget. And I have to call DH in to figure out how to put it back together again. I nearly killed my brand new roomba doing that. Even the engineers at irobot didn't have a schematic that would show how to put it together again.

When DH goes off ranting about how people are so unhandy, I remind him that we all have our talents. The man still hasn't figured out how to use our universal remote for the TV and we've had it for years. He barely works the computer, pretends to be mystified by kitchen appliances and acts like cooking is impossible.

As for car maintenance, it was a lot easier to do it myself when it was an '87 Dodge Shadow rather than an '08 Toyota Highlander. Everything is packed in so tightly in the Highlander and it's not easy to pop things open. I was shocked that I had to look up how to change the air filter on youtube. And the oil filter points downwards so it makes a huge mess when you change it if you work at turtle speed like I do.

Laura33

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I think this is partly generational, partly socioeconomic, and partly technical.  I am the oldest GenX born to the oldest Boomer.  When I was growing up, all of the "trade" jobs were disappearing (think: steel mills shutting down, manufacturing in general offshoring).  My mom and dad grew up in the era when you did for yourselves, because they couldn't afford to do otherwise.  So they did teach me how to do basic things, which they considered survival skills.  But at the same time, the socioeconomic story was that the white-collar job was the wave of the future -- you want to get your degree and go work in an office.  Manual labor was old-fashioned; the wave of the future was brainpower.

So I got a degree and an office job, and the story worked for me -- I suddenly had more money than time.  So even though I could do some stuff, it made more sense to have someone else do it for me.  And there certainly wasn't the "do for yourself" ethos in the communities I lived in as I began to move up the scale; I started to see more people hiring out jobs, and that seemed to be the norm.  So, hey, path of least resistance, right?

Now I think you actually see a resurgence in the value of making things with your hands.  You can laugh all you want at overpriced hipster artisanal whatever, but it's now cool again to make things for yourself, to do something different than the corporate norm, to be a competent, capable individual who knows how to make an actual, tangible thing. 

Of course, now we have the technology biting back -- I used to know how to change my oil, but all the cars with all the computer codes and the like provide at least a disincentive to do that.  My DH used to build computers from spare parts, but that doesn't mean he can fix a broken phone or fix the spinning wheel of death on our current one.  Etc. 

caracarn

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Sometimes these people have fixtures that are only reachable by ladder, which can justify hiring someone.

I find it hard to believe anyone doesn't know how to change a standard incandescent bulb, however some interior fixtures can use weird bulbs that are hard to source.  I'd probably be posting pictures of the bulbs online for help, but if you aren't comfortable with the internet your only real option is going to a hardware store and hoping someone recognizes it.

They made it clear this was not due to anything special.  Was just that they did not know how to change a bulb. 

caracarn

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I still can't fathom people who can't do simple mending: Tack up a falling down hem, sew on a button or a hook and eye that is coming loose, etc. Even my brothers and uncle could handle those tasks--not that they enjoyed sewing, but they could do it if need be. I know we could all take our stuff to the places that do alterations, but I'd be embarrassed to walk in and pay for a task like that.

Oh, yes, I had forgotten "Sew a button" was mentioned as something 35% of people did not know how to do.

Here is the link to the report they were looking at.  Looks like Page 14 is the DIY stuff:

https://cms.aviva.com/media/upload/Aviva_HOME_DIY_04-17_pr04.pdf
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 11:25:27 AM by caracarn »

starjay

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My great aunt (who, if she were still around, would be in her late 90s), was the epitome of sheltered and taken care of. Many years ago while we both visiting my grandmother, Great Aunt casually mentioned taking her wall clock to Radio Shack to have them change the batteries.

She didn't know how to change batteries. Was convinced she'd be electrocuted.

My grandmother, an incredibly self-sufficient and skilled woman, (they were sisters-in-law) was horrified. We tried to show her, using a remote, how to remove and replace batteries...but I think Great Aunt continued to go to Radio Shack for the rest of her life.

Turns out that Great Uncle had literally taken care of everything in the house. All maintenance, cleaning, cooking, etc. When she was widowed in her late 70s, my great aunt knew how to loosely maintain finances, drive to the bank to make withdrawals or deposits, drive to the golf course, and golf. So that's what she did. She heated frozen meals in the microwave or ordered take out or delivery. A younger local family member changed the table lamp lightbulbs and did basic things for her, and she hired help to clean very occasionally. By doing every little damn thing for his princess their entire adult lives, my doting great uncle effectively crippled her; she was nearly helpless after he passed.

So...it's not just generational.

I'll only mention in passing my firmly GenX significant other, who is awesome in many ways, but almost useless with basic household handiness. I'm teaching him all kinds of things that I think are fundamental to adulting (power drill use! hanging mini blinds and pictures! cleaning dryer hoses & vents!)...but I'm glad he's willing to learn and then do. Fortunately he's a chef and can cook, so that makes up for the lack of handiness in my mind, because while I can cook, I don't especially enjoy it.

chaskavitch

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DH has a 2011 Subaru Outback, and you literally have to either remove the front bumper or most of the wheel well (which is held in place with fragile plastic clips) to replace the headlight.  Talk about making something almost impossible to do on your own...  I have never heard such vehement swearing in my life as I did during the 45 minutes he spent trying to replace it by himself.

galliver

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To add a little perspective, if you live in a rental there is typically a clause that prevents you doing auto maintenance in the driveway/parking lot/garage. If you're someone who grew up in rentals, you'd never have had the opportunity to learn e.g. how to change oil even if you had a knowledgeable parent willing to teach you (I didn't). Else, one could maybe take autoshop in HS but it may be clear how useful that would be, or not fit in one's schedule, or fall below other priorities. Similarly, a rental might preclude learning basic electrical or appliance maintenance b/c you don't want to expose yourself to liability for fucking it up.

What I really, really don't get is people who take pride in not knowing how to do things...and/or lack willingness to even look up and see if it's something they can do/fix, or try it if the consequences aren't catastrophic. Incidentally, I did learn how to disassemble/unclog a drain, use basic power tools (in MS woodshop, loved it), and sew/mend clothes alongside the more fundamental cooking/cleaning skills.

Incidentally, it is most shocking to me when people can't follow a recipe or mop a floor...

redbird

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I still can't fathom people who can't do simple mending: Tack up a falling down hem, sew on a button or a hook and eye that is coming loose, etc. Even my brothers and uncle could handle those tasks--not that they enjoyed sewing, but they could do it if need be. I know we could all take our stuff to the places that do alterations, but I'd be embarrassed to walk in and pay for a task like that.

That's what happens when you have no one who has ever taught you such things. They don't teach skills like this in most schools nowadays, and haven't for a long time. They're too busy teaching to tests.

I'm in my 30's and never learned how in school or from anyone else. It's one of those things I want to learn now that I'm post-FIRE. I just haven't had anything in quite a long time that even needs any mending. I especially need to learn for alterations/hemming reasons. As a short person, most pants are way too long in the legs for me. Unlike mens pants, womens seem to only come in 1 length for the legs more or less. Before, I've gotten around this thanks to Old Navy. They sell some pants in a "short" option, which is perfect for me. But most stores don't have such an option and I could get some better pants if I would just hem them myself.

zhelud

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I do not consider myself particularly handy, but maybe slightly above average.  My dad made me help him with home projects when I was a kid and through that I can usually figure most things out.  Certainly part of what MMM suggests is that you figure out how to do things yourself to avoid the money drain.  With that in the back of my head I listened jaw dropped to a resent study shared on the radio as I drove in to work.

They asked people about what they considered basic tasks you might need to do in daily life.  Here are some of the crazy results.  I'm covering them from "harder" tasks to easy.

Change tire:  66% do not know how
Change oil: 75% do not know how (this one was not that surprising)
CHECK oil: 50% do not know how (WHAT!?)
Change a light bulb: 20% do not know how (#$@!????)

They also added that most of the millennials surveyed said they would rather pay someone to do something than spend time to learn to do it themselves, including these basic things. 

Again, I do not consider myself a handyman, but when I've installed toilets, disassembled clogged drains, installed a dishwasher and garbage disposal and ceiling fans, I did not consider myself a master craftsman, but hearing this list (of which I have been able to do all of them since I was 12) was just amazing.

Looking forward to the conversation.

ETA:

Link to full report (DIY stuff towards the back)
https://cms.aviva.com/media/upload/Aviva_HOME_DIY_04-17_pr04.pdf

My dad taught me to change a tire when he taught me to drive 30 years ago. 
But since then, I've had the good fortune of never having a flat tire. And now I am not sure I would remember what to do!

marielle

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My dad taught me to change a tire when he taught me to drive 30 years ago. 
But since then, I've had the good fortune of never having a flat tire. And now I am not sure I would remember what to do!

Your owner's manual for your car should have everything including changing a tire and jack points. Also, where your spare is there is often a picture of jack points too. Make sure you check the air in your spare periodically too, I forgot about mine for a bit and it was VERY low!

zhelud

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My dad taught me to change a tire when he taught me to drive 30 years ago. 
But since then, I've had the good fortune of never having a flat tire. And now I am not sure I would remember what to do!

Your owner's manual for your car should have everything including changing a tire and jack points. Also, where your spare is there is often a picture of jack points too. Make sure you check the air in your spare periodically too, I forgot about mine for a bit and it was VERY low!

I guess I always have my phone and Youtube as well- things are different than they were 30 years ago...

galliver

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I still can't fathom people who can't do simple mending: Tack up a falling down hem, sew on a button or a hook and eye that is coming loose, etc. Even my brothers and uncle could handle those tasks--not that they enjoyed sewing, but they could do it if need be. I know we could all take our stuff to the places that do alterations, but I'd be embarrassed to walk in and pay for a task like that.

That's what happens when you have no one who has ever taught you such things. They don't teach skills like this in most schools nowadays, and haven't for a long time. They're too busy teaching to tests.

I'm in my 30's and never learned how in school or from anyone else. It's one of those things I want to learn now that I'm post-FIRE. I just haven't had anything in quite a long time that even needs any mending. I especially need to learn for alterations/hemming reasons. As a short person, most pants are way too long in the legs for me. Unlike mens pants, womens seem to only come in 1 length for the legs more or less. Before, I've gotten around this thanks to Old Navy. They sell some pants in a "short" option, which is perfect for me. But most stores don't have such an option and I could get some better pants if I would just hem them myself.

I think iron-on hemming tape will be great for you. I've been hemming my pants since I was a teenager (my mom taught me), but I discovered how much EASIER it is with hemming tape a few months ago. Especially on stretchy pants (previously my nemesis...it's 1000% harder to get a stitch to go straight). But basically, the tape simplifies the problem to: stitch straight around the circumference of the pant leg. You can do it carefully by hand, but machine is faster/neater if you have access. If you're worried about the result, practice a bit on a scrap, something old, or something you can get for 99c at the thrift store. I think you could become great at hemming if you tried it. The cost of failing a couple times is very low (as long as you don't start with a $100 pair of jeans or something). :)

marielle

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My dad taught me to change a tire when he taught me to drive 30 years ago. 
But since then, I've had the good fortune of never having a flat tire. And now I am not sure I would remember what to do!

Your owner's manual for your car should have everything including changing a tire and jack points. Also, where your spare is there is often a picture of jack points too. Make sure you check the air in your spare periodically too, I forgot about mine for a bit and it was VERY low!

I guess I always have my phone and Youtube as well- things are different than they were 30 years ago...

True, I just prefer the owner's manual for the exact jack points. Some cars these days aren't as obvious if you don't know what to look for, and there might not be a video online for that specific car. Manufacturers are making it harder to work on cars...I don't know if I'll even be buying anything from 2010+ unless it's an electric car.

Zikoris

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I don't know how to do anything with cars. I'm also very anti-car and never bothered getting a license, so I'll never need to.

Khaetra

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There's quite a few things I don't know, as I lived in apartments for over half my life so I never had to fix a faucet or unclog a drain.  Same with my cars, nowhere to change the oil or do other things so I had to farm all that out for others to do.  I do, however, know how to change a lightbulb ;). 

I've learned quite a bit though since owning a house.  I can tile floors, hang drywall, replace faucets, unclog things, etc.  Heck, I can even build things like shelving.  May not be pretty but I can do it.

By the River

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I have taught minor carpentry and repair skills to my kids. 

The middle son's school forced the entire sophomore class to volunteer (oxymoronic) at a habitat for humanity job site.  When he came home, he said, "Dad, remember when we were young and you had to hold the nail until we got it started?  I almost had to do that for most of my classmates.  I don't think they ever used a skilsaw" 

Kashmani

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As a Generation X'er raised by one of the earliest baby boomers, I don't find this surprising at all. I grew up with a workaholic parent who basically did not teach me any practical skills. In my 20s, I lived in an apartment and did not own a car, so I had no way to learn. Now, in my 30s, I have to look everything up on Youtube to figure out how to do it. That is nice and fine when it comes to changing a light bulb in the car, but I sure as hell will not mess around with a hazardous substance (used motor oil) on a $30,000 vehicle based on a Youtube video. Sometimes, it is better to accept that you don't have a certain skill and the risk of doing it wrong is too high.

StockBeard

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Having not owned a vehicle for more than a decade, I think I would freak out if I had to change a tire. Basic maintenance (e.g. changing oil) I'd probably look up on google, but I wouldn't be surprised if modern cars are designed in a way that lot of "DIY" is now made difficult intentionally? (yeah, you can't change your own oil, please bring your car to an authorized mechanic"

An anecdote: we rented a car for a weekend earlier this year. I had to pump gas and was unable to figure it out, I had to ask for help from the gas station employee, who was nice but probably assumed I was a douchebag millenial :). I swear the pumps in the US don't work the same as in France. I was pressing something I thought to be the trigger, but it wasn't. The memory is a bit blurry so I don't think I could remember what I was doing wrong.

Bottom line is, if I was interviewed on that show, I would probably have answered "don't know how to do that" to all questions except the lightbulb. Not that I wouldn't want to learn, but I have unlearned these skills in more than 10 years of not operating a car.

paddedhat

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My daughter's SO is pretty useless when it comes to anything mechanical. As he is finishing university he ends up with an older BMW. He is totally incapable of doing anything to it beyond keeping, oil, air and fuel in the correct vessels. He ends up dealing with a decent garage for the most part, until one day when the car dies and he gets scammed into towing it to a BMW dealer. At this point reading the Facebook posts on this emergency is enough to leave me laughing until I nearly wet myself. The service writer sits the kid down for a "talking to" and explains that the car is in grave condition and unsafe to even sit in. Good news though! They can probably right this ship, and correct all the serious issues for a bit under five grand. After my son, and I tell him to GTFO even if it means towing the thing back to his trusted mechanic, he does exactly that. The car only needed a $125 battery, everything else was safe and operable.

slugline

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DH has a 2011 Subaru Outback, and you literally have to either remove the front bumper or most of the wheel well (which is held in place with fragile plastic clips) to replace the headlight.  Talk about making something almost impossible to do on your own...  I have never heard such vehement swearing in my life as I did during the 45 minutes he spent trying to replace it by himself.

You just reminded me -- I probably should go ahead and replace the cabin air filter in my first-generation Honda CR-V. I just need to set aside some time to vehemently swear while I halfway disassemble the passenger-side of the dashboard yet again.

Yup, you'd think it shouldn't be this hard to get at a common maintenance item, right? :)

paddedhat

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DH has a 2011 Subaru Outback, and you literally have to either remove the front bumper or most of the wheel well (which is held in place with fragile plastic clips) to replace the headlight.  Talk about making something almost impossible to do on your own...  I have never heard such vehement swearing in my life as I did during the 45 minutes he spent trying to replace it by himself.

You just reminded me -- I probably should go ahead and replace the cabin air filter in my first-generation Honda CR-V. I just need to set aside some time to vehemently swear while I halfway disassemble the passenger-side of the dashboard yet again.

Yup, you'd think it shouldn't be this hard to get at a common maintenance item, right? :)

Wow, that sucks. I have a 2014 CRV, and you pull all the crap out of the glove box, then release a catch which allows the whole thing to flop down. The cabin air filter housing is now front and center, and opens by popping two clips open. It can be done without tools in 2-3 minutes. OTOH, our last car was a Dodge Intrepid. To change the battery you jack up the right front wheel, pull the wheel, open the hatch in the fender liner, unbolt the battery, and wrestle it out of a small hole. The first time is a true, "you have got to be fukin' kidding me" moment.

Miss Piggy

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Just to make sure I understand correctly...it's okay if I work my ass off and save money for X number of years so I never have to work again at a job I was trained to do and generally like doing, but it's NOT okay to avoid changing my own oil, because that's work I'm supposed to do?

Anybody else see the irony here?


Jrr85

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I used to change the oil in my car but now go to one of the quick change places.  I did teach my kids how to change tires, check the battery, check oil and other minor things while I was teaching them to drive.   Recently, my 18 year old took the car to get the oil changed.  Before he left, I told him that they will try to sell air filters but they are easy to clean or replace and to not buy them.  He got home and told me that he said no to the air filters but noticed windshield wipers on the wall and told them to replace the wipers.   I took him and his brother outside and showed how easy it is take off and put on the wipers.   (face-punch to me for missing this maintenance item in the first place).     

Or you can go to the auto store, buy the wipers and ask them to install them for you (for free). Same with auto batteries. Or is that service only for women? lol

I am not as handy as I should be and I blame DH because he is so friggin' good at everything hands-on that it makes zero sense for me to do it. I do sometimes get a hair up my ass and decide to fix something. The main issue I have is not know how hard I can/should twist something without breaking it. So I take forever because I'm not being forceful enough. The other issue I have is thinking I can surely take something apart and put it together again and I'll definitely remember how to do it and then .... I forget. And I have to call DH in to figure out how to put it back together again. I nearly killed my brand new roomba doing that. Even the engineers at irobot didn't have a schematic that would show how to put it together again.

When DH goes off ranting about how people are so unhandy, I remind him that we all have our talents. The man still hasn't figured out how to use our universal remote for the TV and we've had it for years. He barely works the computer, pretends to be mystified by kitchen appliances and acts like cooking is impossible.

As for car maintenance, it was a lot easier to do it myself when it was an '87 Dodge Shadow rather than an '08 Toyota Highlander. Everything is packed in so tightly in the Highlander and it's not easy to pop things open. I was shocked that I had to look up how to change the air filter on youtube. And the oil filter points downwards so it makes a huge mess when you change it if you work at turtle speed like I do.

Feel your pain on this.  Damn near tore my wife's car apart trying to change the battery out.
 It was bolted in and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how you were supposed to get a tool on the bolt to release it.  Ended up having to use a flexible screw driver just to unbolt the battery.  Surely there was a way to do it with standard tools, but I could never figure it out and was cursing the entire nation of Japan by the time I finished. 
 
Jumped somebody off that was in a buick enclave the other day and popped the hood and couldn't find the battery.  Felt like a complete moron but had to look in the owner's manual to figure out how to do it (the battery access in in the floorboard fyi).   

zolotiyeruki

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Just to make sure I understand correctly...it's okay if I work my ass off and save money for X number of years so I never have to work again at a job I was trained to do and generally like doing, but it's NOT okay to avoid changing my own oil, because that's work I'm supposed to do?

Anybody else see the irony here?
I think there's confusion between means and ends here.  The job brings in money that you save to become FI.  Doing your own car work means you spend less money, so you can save more towards FI.

It's about maximizing happiness.  Part of that is by increasing your freedom via finances.  Another part of it is taking a step back and figuring out what brings real happiness (i.e. probably not consumerism).  For me, I enjoy both my job and DIYing stuff, but I'd prefer to have control over all my time.

ketchup

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Just to make sure I understand correctly...it's okay if I work my ass off and save money for X number of years so I never have to work again at a job I was trained to do and generally like doing, but it's NOT okay to avoid changing my own oil, because that's work I'm supposed to do?

Anybody else see the irony here?
It's one thing to farm out changing the oil because you don't want to do it yourself.  It's another entirely to have no idea how to do it even if you wanted to (even though step one of how to do everything now is "search on Google for five minutes").

Prairie Stash

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If we were listing chores we didn't know how to do, "call someone to have them change a lightbulb" would be toward the top of the list.  Who do you even call for that service?!?!
General handyman. I'll change your bulb for $20, $40 if I need to use a ladder. I have a friend who has a side job doing general maintenance on a building; most months its only changing light bulbs.

In my house I switched to bulbs with 20 year life expectancies (some should last 50 years given the usage). My 2 year old might never see me change a bulb, although I expect YouTube to teach her how if the need arises.

Oil changes are over rated. My daughter will likely never need to change the oil and won't know how.

KodeBlue

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I think I would be in favor of women over 50 getting someone else to change a light bulb in a very high ceiling. Many of them have osteoporosis and don't know it; a fall from a ladder could be very bad for them.

Le Barbu

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Just to make sure I understand correctly...it's okay if I work my ass off and save money for X number of years so I never have to work again at a job I was trained to do and generally like doing, but it's NOT okay to avoid changing my own oil, because that's work I'm supposed to do?

Anybody else see the irony here?

Your mileage can vary but I figure it's ok to avoid paying someone to replace a light bulb because I do not like having to work for a paycheck.

snacky

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My great grandmother went to live on a homestead in Saskatchewan in 1910 or so, after 35 years of being British aristocracy. She had to get her new husband to teach her how to boil water.

Uselessness in the realm of practical skills: it's not a modern phenomenon.

shelivesthedream

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My great grandmother went to live on a homestead in Saskatchewan in 1910 or so, after 35 years of being British aristocracy. She had to get her new husband to teach her how to boil water.

Uselessness in the realm of practical skills: it's not a modern phenomenon.

That is the beginning of what sounds like one of the best stories ever. Please please please post more. Your great grandmother sounds amazing.

caracarn

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My great grandmother went to live on a homestead in Saskatchewan in 1910 or so, after 35 years of being British aristocracy. She had to get her new husband to teach her how to boil water.

Uselessness in the realm of practical skills: it's not a modern phenomenon.

That is the beginning of what sounds like one of the best stories ever. Please please please post more. Your great grandmother sounds amazing.

Yes, I'd agree.  Sound like it could be the opening lines of a novel that would be a very interesting read.  Hoping to hear more myself.  I'd even buy the book.

snacky

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Her whole life was like that. She was a self-supporting professional artist in England, had a torrid affair in Italy, married a poor soldier for love at age 35, homesteaded in Saskatchewan. She bore two babies in a one room cabin far from medical help. Returned to England when he joined up for WWI, lost him in the war, and then raised her kids on her own on her own island near Victoria, BC.  She painted and showed with the Group of Seven and Emily Carr.
Phenomenal woman.

Leisured

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Reminds me of the joke about how many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb. Three.

One to serve the chardonnay
One to serve cheese and biscuits
One to phone an electrician


WildJager

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I think people can be intimidated at learning new skills for what appears to be a relatively complex system.  Whether it be a computer, a vehicle, cooking, or house maintenance, all those are complex on the whole.  But, when you break these things down to individual components they're not really too complex.

I learned how to build computers at a young age because video games were a hobby at the time.  My parents didn't care to upgrade the computer, so I would Frankenstein used parts I could scavenge cheaply in order to make games run.  I still recall a time when I had our dinky old computer so overclocked I had to leave the side panels off with a giant floor fan running across the system just so it wouldn't overheat and melt itself. 

This was at the cusp of the internet when access to information wasn't readily available, and with only one computer once our system was down I had no way to research what I was doing wrong.  I can still feel the dread in the pit of my stomach when I changed out a part or configuration, hit the power button, and nothing happened.  I would scramble to somehow fix the machine before my parents chewed me out for "messing it up again."  To them, this tinkering was pointless and potentially damaging.  In hindsight, it set me up for a life of useful skills.  Now a days, I can fix any problem with computers that arise with ease.  It was stressful in the early years, but every roadblock was a learning opportunity. 

I take that life lesson with everything now.  I'm not a great mechanic, but when something breaks I sit down and slowly figure out how to fix it.  With information so abundant now, fixing the car is not a matter of if, but when. 

It's the same as why we learn a variety of skills in school that many will not even touch again.  Math, science, history, biology, etc.  Our brain starts to build connections from previous lessons learned.  Lessons I've learned with computers helped me understand car systems.  Learning car systems have helped me learn home maintenance systems.  Chemistry has helped me to be a better cook.  Biology helped me understand how to best cook a specific cut of meat.  Both helped me understand why diet fads are a joke, and what I actually should eat to be healthy.

Everything ends up being interconnected at some point due to the laws of physics.  I truly believe we do ourselves a disservice when we fear making a mistake because a task is too daunting.  One poster above mentioned, why would I not pay to change my car oil if I am FI?  Simply put, that skill might relate to an unexpected and unrelated task down the road.  Plus, it will give you confidence in situations that would leave many others giving up and asking for help.  "Yeah, I can do this.  Hand me that wrench."  I can't wait to have more time in FIRE to develop these skills even further. 

In short, this is the badassity part of MMM.  By making yourself self sufficient, you empower yourself to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.  Our current economic system encourages specializing to keep the economy churning along much more efficiently.  Saving a lot of money in an index fund is only one aspect of breaking that mold and taking advantage of everyone else's close mindedness.

shelivesthedream

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Her whole life was like that. She was a self-supporting professional artist in England, had a torrid affair in Italy, married a poor soldier for love at age 35, homesteaded in Saskatchewan. She bore two babies in a one room cabin far from medical help. Returned to England when he joined up for WWI, lost him in the war, and then raised her kids on her own on her own island near Victoria, BC.  She painted and showed with the Group of Seven and Emily Carr.
Phenomenal woman.

Badass to the max. I too would buy that book. And proof that lacking basic life skills at one particular point in your life does not preclude you from being a major badass. There's loads of stuff I have no idea how to do because I've never been called upon to do it. But the first time I get a blocked drain or own a lawn, I will learn how to unblock a drain and mow a lawn (and, er, buy a lawnmower!). For example, I recently learned how to paint a wall at age 26. Not because I was a defective human being before then, but because I'd never had a wall I was allowed to paint before. Seriously, I have a list of "Things To Remember About Life", and two of them are:

1. There's a first time for everything.
2. You don't know how to do something until someone teaches you how to do it. (Which, being translated, means: don't feel bad that you don't know how to do something if no one ever taught you how to do it. Mainly aimed at the long list of life skills my parents have but never taught me.)

The corollary to these is: There are instructions for everything. (Which, being translated, means: anything you want to do, you can find instructions on how to do it and follow them - and therefore you can do the thing you want to do!)