Sunday, October 25, 2015


Skills. There are skills in this life that come in handy. Just yesterday when my great nephew Jordan was trying to open the side gate to the backyard, he stood there wiggling the latch trying to open it.

I could see his rising frustration level. In his seven-year-old mind he thinks a good wiggle should work in most instances. To be fair, I often wiggle things before I look more deeply to see how they work. 

When I stepped over and showed him how the gate latch mechanism worked, he wasn't interested at first, but then when he watched more closely and solved the gate riddle I could tell he was interested. 
He quickly tried his new-learned skills on all three gates. With a few simple movements, the gates swung open.

I then told him it was important to try and understand how things worked. He listened for a moment before his eyes glazed over and he was ready to move on to something else...but it occurred to me how important it is to learn how things work.

I've worked on most of the cars I've owned in my life. Through years of experience, I've learned what projects I can do myself and what projects are best left for those with better tools and more patience.

I've saved an incredible amount of money. I never call a repairman to work on appliances, cars, lawnmowers, weedeaters, or anything mechanical until I have a look to see if I can spot the problem.

More often that you'd think, the problem is obvious. A bad bearing here, a broken belt there and the problem is halfway fixed.

Late this afternoon my nephew James called to say the alternator on his minivan was defective and needed replacement. All the garages were closed and he had to be in Mississippi in the morning.

I went to my shed and got my tools and headed out to help. Fortunately, he has an uncle on his wife's side of the family that tinkered too. Between the both of us, we managed to pool our tools and experience to replace the alternator. 

My nephew was grateful for a couple of old "squeaky kneed" (is that a word?) uncles with skills.

Ok, this has nothing to do with the post. I promise I'll take normal pictures
in the coming weeks. But I like this one I took earlier in the day at our
friends Kaye and Jamie's house.


  1. I can change a tire and check the oil, that is the limit to my car expertise.

  2. Anonymous10:53 PM

    I was once going to take a night school course on auto repair, but I never did. I've now just sold my car but I still have my driver's license!!

  3. Well done, squeaky-kneed uncles.

    Ms Soup

  4. You are fortunate to be able to fix things, I'm not handy at all, but thankfully have a few sons that are.

  5. Recognizing how things works sure comes easier to some folks than others. I admire folks who have a knack for mechanical workings.

  6. I have been blessed with the ability to 'fix' things. I do a little wiggling of things that don't operate at first also. Remember when a slap on the side of a TV & RAdio would start it, The old radio program 'Ma & Pa Kettle'. BAck when there were a lot of relays and tubes that could be shocked or make to contact better.
    Yes, it is good to be able to help in a pinch, I know James appreciated the OLD DUDES work.

  7. Good for you! My hubby is like you and he has a natural talent. he can do and fix almost anything.

  8. My husband had the probing mind and from him my children learned to search for the root of the problem. I made certain that my boys could cook, clean, and do laundry. My daughter can change oil in the car, replace windshield wipers, and change a tire. They may not have to do any of these things but if necessary they can.

  9. I envy your mechanical ability. My dad was a professional mechanic as id our son. i guess it skipped a generation.

  10. Mechanical skills are fine ones to have. I am sorely lacking. Very cool that you and the other uncle were able to do the needed repairs.

  11. I have not been blessed with the ability to fix things but lucky for me I know people... my sister is super handy... I often wish I was but I never took the time when I was younger. My loss for sure ;-)

  12. Since I got divorced, I'm much more eager to try to fix things myself, or at least try to figure out what's wrong with them.I fixed a leak under my kitchen sink a few days ago. When I was married, I wouldn't have dared to touch the pipes because my ex-husband asshole would have said I created the leak or made it worse. Now I'm freeeeeee! I'm no good with car problems, but that's why I gave birth to my son. He's worth a couple of days of labor. I love it when you write about Jordan.


  13. I can fix a few things around the house and I do a lot of what I would consider man's jobs but I'm not mechanically inclined. I know what to do when my van overheated one day and how to solve the problem safely and avoid further damage... When I got home I called my mechanic and he found the source of the problem and fixed it. A leaky gasket. This 4 hour job was too complicated for me for sure.

    Your photo is interesting.


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