p7r wrote:Dave32 wrote:It does seem sad at first sight, but you know, things move on.
I can change a lightbulb, a plug, tile the bathroom, wire a shower, give my car an oil change. Just like my dad could. But I won't darn a pair of socks like he would. I'd throw them away and buy a new pair.
Just as an aside, most modern appliances have plugs that can't be changed for safety reasons (the wire can't be pulled from it). Changing a plug therefore only remains a useful life skill if you have a lot of electronic devices made pre-1990s. That's why it's dying out.
As to tiling a bathroom, wiring a shower or giving a car an oil change, I'd like to argue against you doing that, for two reasons:
1. Your time as a non-expert is probably best spent doing something else. I know I could probably learn those things, but it would take me perhaps 3-4 hours research to work out how to put in a new shower and most of a weekend to do it. The quality of the finish would be average. I don't get much time off, and I'd rather an expert spent a morning doing it and for me to have my weekend to do other things, returning to find a new shower with a very high quality of finish installed.
2. Tradable assets and skills is the foundation of civilisation, and trading them is important for society to be healthy. In the same way I out-source my hunting and gathering to Morrisons or Asda, I can out-source other tasks to experts who get to earn a living.
If I walked into a restaurant and told the waiter to get lost as I'd be dealing with the spam - sorry directly myself in order to save a bit of money, people would think me both rude and slightly mad. So it is with trades such as electrics, plastering, tiling, plumbing, car mechanics, etc. By me learning to do those things I might become "self-sufficient", but I am taking away some sufficiency from another human being.
I have a whole bunch of skills that are commercially viable that I am glad others want to hire me for rather than learn themselves, much like most trades do. So when I go out to look for a person rather than do something myself, I don't consider it "lazy" or that I am somehow being clueless about the situation - I'm taking the money earned in my specialist niche area and spreading it to support the living of another person's specialist niche area. I certainly don't consider it a bad thing.
That works fine as long as you have disposable income to spend on hiring the experts. I used to be able to do basic things like fitting a new pendant light fitting, now that I can't I have to find someone else to do it and it's frustrating paying £25.00 to watch someone else do something I could have done myself in half the time a few years ago.
It's a pity that once your disposable income gets knocked down, we will all have to retire eventually, the experts you hired before will charge you the same as they did when you were better off. At that point knowing how to stick a tile back on the shower or being able to put up a shelf may become a survival skill.
I taught some basic DIY to women's groups in the 80's. Wiring a plug was a useful skill to have then, but I was surprised to realise that a lot of the women sat in the dark when a light bulb blew as they waited for their husband to come home to change it.
One thing I did with them, and later on with my own daughter was showing them how to use a power drill. Not so that they could construct their own furniture or whatever but I discovered my self as a young person that there is no better way of making a hole in a wall. It's a noisy thing and quite scary for a first time user but getting over that is a stepping stone to being able to do things for yourself, even if it's only hanging a picture on the wall or putting up a baby gate.
I also showed them how to put up a curtain rail and hang a blind and how to change the barrel in a Yale lock, being able to do that could amount to the difference between life and death for some women. Some of them had no idea what to do if a fuse tripped in the house, half the time they didn't even know where the fuse box was. Knowing where to turn the water off in an emergency was also useful. And for anyone with small children knowing how to unblock a toilet is much cheaper than calling a plumber, I did have to call out a professional drain unblocker once, it was usually Lego but on this occasion it was a large green Yoda who emerged from the pipe, Stuck he was, even the force couldn't get him out.
I think parents should teach their kids the basics before they leave home. They may not have the money to hire experts and if you send them on their way with an electric screwdriver at the very least they may thank you for it.