View Full Version : OT - Basic Skills in Today's World

08-05-2006, 12:36 PM
It has always concerned me when the young amoung us are not taugh basic
skills such as how to change a tire, how to use a saw, how to...well
you get the idea...there are basic skills that one needs to deal with
the world we live in. Well this article shows what that lack of
training, due to whatever reason, means as they get older.

When I drive through a neighborhood, it is a rare garage that has
anything like a workshop within it anymore....a reflection of the lack
of interest or knowledge of the homeowner to work with their hands?

Do your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, the generation who
is succeeding us, have the basic skills that are needed in the world


Repair jobs challenge young homeowners By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National
Thu Aug 3

The staff at his neighborhood hardware store can spot John Carter from
a distance.

He's the slightly befuddled guy who often comes in declaring, "I have
no idea what I'm doing. Can you at least get me through tonight?"

The 26-year-old Chicagoan, who's been slowly rehabbing the condo he
bought last year, is part of a generation of young homeowners who admit
they often have no clue how to handle home projects.

For them, shop class was optional. It also was more common for their
parents to hire contractors, leaving fewer opportunities for them to
learn basic repair skills.

With low interest rates allowing more young adults to buy property in
recent years, many inexperienced homeowners are desperate for advice
when the furnace goes out, the roof leaks or when a home project that
seemed like a no-brainer goes terribly wrong.

"They know they've got to buy real estate; they know it's a good
investment. But that doesn't help you when you swing a hammer and hit a
pipe in the wall," says Lou Manfredini, a Chicago hardware store owner
who gives do-it-yourself advice on local radio and nationally online
and on TV. "Unfortunately, homes don't come with an instruction

Contractors say it's not unusual for them to get frantic calls from
young do-it-yourselfers who get in over their heads.

Sometimes, the mistakes are silly.

Michel Hanet, who owns a door replacement business called IDRC in
Scottsdale, Ariz., has arrived at homes to find doors hung upside down.
He's also discovered more than one sliding pocket door that won't open
because someone nailed a picture on the wall and into the door.

"The younger generation are more likely the ones that are getting into
trouble," Hanet says. "The baby boomers have the money to do it, so
they just call and say 'I don't like my doors; just come and replace

Kirsten Pellicer, the 30-year-old vice president of Ace hardware stores
in Longmont and Boulder, Colo., sees many young customers looking to
tackle projects on their own, often to save money.

"We rarely get requests for 'Do you know a good handyman?' from the
younger set," she says.

For Carter, the young Chicagoan, it's all about being brave enough to
try - and sometimes fail.

With the help of a buddy who has rehabbing experience, he's put in
hardwood floors, knocked out a wall and completely remodeled his condo

In the process, he's also managed to nearly flood the kitchen after
forgetting to completely seal off a refrigerator water line; had a
sliding closet door he was installing shatter a light bulb over his
head and crash on top of him; and been fined by his condo association
for a couple of other mishaps.

"The one thing about home remodeling is that it is intimidating. But in
the end, you find it's definitely worthwhile," says Carter, whose day
job is at a large accounting firm where he secures computerized
financial data. "You just have to accept that you're going to screw

Dave Payne, a 26-year-old condo owner in suburban Atlanta, knows what
he means.

Payne made the mistake of trying to spackle over wallpaper in his condo
bathroom, leaving uneven chunks where the wallpaper pulled away from
the wall.

"There were just times when I wanted to pull my hair out and hire
someone when I looked at my ruined walls," he says.

But after hours of "spackling, sanding, spackling again, sanding again,
then priming," he's hoping no one will notice.

Increasingly, hardware professionals and others are addressing the need
for know-how.

Some community colleges and stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot offer
classes in projects from changing a faucet to tiling and putting in a
dimmer switch.

"It gives them some exposure, so if they want to do it on their own,
they have a starting point," says Peter Marx, a remodeling contractor
who teaches home repair at North Seattle Community College.

Others find help online, including at the Ace site, where Manfredini
- the Chicago hardware store owner - answers questions.

Home-centered television networks, including HGTV, are also in vogue.
HGTV executives say shows such as "Design on a Dime" and "What's Your
Sign? Design" - a show that builds on the unlikely combination of
astrology and home decorating - have helped boost its recent ratings
among young adults.

While 27-year-old Amy Choate occasionally goes online or watches TV
shows to get home-improvement ideas, more often she uses a resource
closer to home: her mom.

Among other things, mom showed her how to fix wall cracks in her
Chicago condo.

But Choate has no intention of tackling an upcoming kitchen rehab.
She'll leave that to a professional.

"I'd probably do it wrong," she says, "and end up paying twice as


On the Net:

Answers (at) Ace: http://www.acehardware.com

Home Depot clinics: http://www.homedepotclinics.com/

Lowe's clinics:

08-05-2006, 12:51 PM
Sickening, isn't it? The thought of these highly-educated 30-40 yr. old kids, with no common sense skills, running our schools and businesses, government, economy??

08-05-2006, 01:32 PM
The sobs make more than we ever thought of, live in homes that were mansions when we were kids. the little pricks ought to pay someone who knows what there doing to do there dirty work ,and pay them well.

J Tiers
08-05-2006, 03:46 PM

Well, it just shows that you old geezers REALLY MESSED UP........

Who didn't teach them that stuff?

Who didn't have tools in the house?

And do not try to tell me that the geezers DO, because I go to estate sales..... The only tools in the house are usually a couple rusty and bent screwdrivers that have no decent blade, last used to open paint.

Plus a saw that was cheap and useless when new in about 1948.

08-05-2006, 03:57 PM
Wolfie et al;
It's been said before, but I'll add my .02 (Cdn) worth. I make my daily living as a plumbing & heating contractor. Some customers expect you to work for next to nothing....cheap pricks...others are great about paying for good work.
Even with machining or fabricating work...(not everyone has a lathe, brake, plasma table etc. just sitting around for no reason.) Some customers can appreciate the overhead expenses & why you charge what you charge. Others bitch & moan....the secret to business is seperating the moaners from the payers. Also, good riddance to those who tell you how to do your job...!!!
Funny thing is, they don't seem to argue with the dentist or the auto mechanic do they ? (Dentist gets paid up front, mechanic won't let the car off the hoist, if he's smart...)
Have fun.

08-05-2006, 09:04 PM
Then you know of what I speak.Nice to see its the same all over.

08-07-2006, 08:58 AM
Im one of those young professionals that they are eluding to; however...

I was fortunate enough to have a grandfather that was constantly making things from wood for his neighbors.

I also worked at a bodyshop straight out of highschool. My first day there I asked the boss what he wanted me to do... he said, "Jump on in, worst you can do is mess it up, and thats what WE do... fix things"

I find now, many years later that people are intrigued that I can and do anything I decide I want to do. The information is available (almost too much info). The older generation appreciates my constant strive for knowledge but when I try to discuss any of my interests with the 'younger' crowd they just give me a blank stare and ask why I just dont go buy it.

Dang Blasted Walmart :D

08-07-2006, 10:50 AM
Befre I retired from Cincinnati Machine I saw a lot of soon to be college grads
(engineering students) they could do wonders with a computer but hand them a calculator and ask them to trig out a triangle and they was lost, they did not know basic trig , sine ,cosine and tan.

I hope my SS and pension hold out as long as I do.


A.K. Boomer
08-07-2006, 10:57 AM
I have to say that this is an increasing epidemic and as far as me personally Im glad I do EVERYTHING on my own,,, I really cant remember hiring anybody to do anything for at least a decade and before that all i remember is taking in My kenwood car tape deck to ask if it was being wired correctly because on an older kenwood I heard that all the grounds had to be segregated from each other but didnt have a schematic and didnt want to blow it up...
To me this is a "guy thing" --- there is much pride and its also a big part of being a guy, i have learned countless things and its all been self taught and would not trade it for anything --- BUT ---- think about it, Im not exactly the type of person that keeps the economy going either, in fact if everybody did what i do there would be very few people that have jobs, with the exception of dentist and the people who mount and balance my car tires (which iv even done myself on occasion) and the obvious insurance, food, house payment and purchasing goods to fix things, but as far as labor --- forget it...
I'll tell you whats getting crazy, I think I know more Women who will give your average guy a run for his money when it comes to fixing things around the house or on the car,,, You might as well cut off my nuts for this to happen, i cannot relate and this blows me away,,, with a situation like that you not only know who's wearing the pants but I think its also safe to assume who may be slipping into the dress once in while,,,
Bottom line is im glad not everybody is like me, i dont know how they do it but whatever works, most make very good money specializing but also get taken advantage of because they dont have a clue as to whats going on in the real world,,,

That kenwood I took to the electronic repair shop, he said to drop it off and he'd look it over, called and said the outputs were blown and said it would cost 120.00 to fix, I told him to go ahead, went to pick it up and then he told me --- oh yeah --- you want to wire it this way, and it was the way i previously discribed and asked him about when i dropped it off, i brought this up to him and said it would have been nice to try it that way before replacing the outputs, he got all huffy and threatend "i'll put your old outputs back in right now" I said OK,,, he did and i took the unit home and wired it correctly, now it worked but it had a different prob., I tear into it and find out that he solderd 14 out of 16 of the output pins, i solder those pins and the unit works flawless, i already had my check back when i called him and told him the unit worked fine, he sounded surprised and then i said Esp. after i soldered the rest of the output pins,,, he hung up the phone --------- this was one of the very rare times i ventured out to let somebody else do something for me --- is it any wonder i do everything on my own.....