Friday, February 1, 2013

Can We Fix It? Amazingly, Yes We Can...

So, last week I get a call from the Mrs. right around quitting time.
"The oven just blew up. I turned it on, about a minute later I smelled smoked and it was shooting sparks in the back."
She was more concerned with venting the smoke without setting off the smoke detectors (yay for downdraft power vents!) as well as changing dinner plans at the last minute, so she didn't look any further into it at the time. When I got home - and all the smoke had cleared - I looked inside the oven and was greeted with this:

Yep, that's a blown element alright.

Now, even for a mechanically declined guy like myself, I thought this was a fix I could handle. A quick check around the internets indicated that it was as simple as cutting power, unscrewing the deceased element, and then unplugging it from the oven. And sure enough, it was just that easy - and the oven has a convenient power plug, too, so I didn't even have to mess with circuit breakers. Twenty minutes later we had a functioning oven, all for under $50 - you can't get a repair guy to set foot in the house for under $100.

So, go team me. I fixed something! Now, to guys like og or Doubletrouble, this is not big deal. They probably wake up in the middle of the night to find themselves spontaneously rebuilding carburetors and such. To a guy like me, though, this was pretty freakin' cool. To be able to assess the problem, figure out how to fix it, gather the needed supplies, and get the job done? Well, heck, those are skills that apply anywhere, not just for recalcitrant kitchen appliances.

When I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation basic course back in the early 1990s, they had a mnemonic for staying safe: SIPDE. It stood for Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute - the steps to take, in proper order, to avoid obstacles while on two wheels. You scanned for threats, constantly. You identified those things that might be a threat - like, say, an SUV with a left turn signal on and a driver on the phone. You predicted what might happen - she's going to turn left right in front of me. You decide what to do - if she does turn, I'll go around her on the left and straddle the double yellow. And you execute your plan - which is exactly what I did when the distracted soccer mom turned left directly into my path. For the record, having the windows open and her kids in the back seat was probably a bad idea, because they learned all kinds of bad words from the biker their mom almost killled.

We are responsible for our own equipment, and our own safety. We can delegate care for our equipment to others - like I could have called a repair center and had them send someone to fix the oven - but that costs a lot and takes extra time. We can delegate our own safety, as well; however that either costs a bit for private security, or takes time - as the expression goes, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Everything comes with a price, be it money, time, or a little bit of both.

I prefer to take care of small repairs - and my own security - myself.

That is all.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Now if you would just clean up that Mess on your Nightstand...; )

doubletrouble said...

Good on ya, & for the record, whilst I can fix them, I don't like carbs- too many fiddly bits.

Anonymous said...

You man know wear the Manly Man ribbon on your jacket for fixing something that was broken.

My wife has banned me from plumbing because I made it worse after the repair than it was before.


Mopar said...

One of my all time favorite quotes:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love

eiaftinfo said...

Nice!! I lean more towards Tim the Toolman, yet I can usually pull one or two repairs outta my butt each year. However - there is ALWAYS a blood offering required . . . . heavy sigh.

ASM826 said...

This will be banned as well. Fixing it yourself? Dangerous.

You should have to submit a request to the government. They will send a registered, card carrying assessor out. He will submit a work request and a team will be dispatched to complete the work. They will, of course, be backed up for weeks.

When days count, a repairman is just months away!

Andie said...

Congrats, Jay! It's a nice feeling when you can be proud of the results for those things designated as our own responsibilities. :)

+1 to Mopar's comment (<3 Heinlein)

Dave H said...

Sounds like ASM826 has watched "Brazil." If society comes to that I'll become a rogue engineer, robbing the rich to fix things for the poor and jabbing a greasy and callused thumb in the eye of Da Man.

Good on you Jay for flexing your self-sufficiency muscles.

Ed said...

The police unions do not want you to take care of your own safety. Doubling the police budget budget will allow a doubling of personnel, cutting the response time in half because they can be half way there already. Instead of a thirty minute response time, there could be a fifteen minute response time. What's your problem with that? Are you cheap or something? Isn't your family worth it? Safety!

montieth said...

hmmm Electron Air Gap yep....