Wednesday, June 18, 2008

tinkering with tomorrow

OK, class. Everyone quiet down. Our lesson today is: There are two types of people. People who God put here to do some things, and other people He put here to do other things. Life is all about figuring out which group you are in.

For example you may not be an expert in repairing hot tubs when:

  • You diagnose the problem as a faulty heating element -- without doing any diagnostics.

  • You go to the hot tub dealer and ask for a heating element, and you are not really certain whether your hot tub electrical power is 110 or 220.

  • While at the dealer, the manager asks: "Are you certain it's the heating element?", and you reply: "It couldn't be anything else." (This falls into the subcategory of not asking for directions.)

  • You open the access door on the hot tub, and you may as well be looking at the hyperdrive for the Millennial Falcon.

  • You start unscrewing parts with no regard for what they hold together.

  • As you remove the first screw holding the element inside the water heater, water starts gushing out -- all over the electrical equipment.

  • You finally get everything screwed back together, and have two pesky copper wires that look as if they may be grounding wires, but you are not really certain what they ground -- or where.

  • You start replacing the water that escaped through the heater, and, while on the telephone, allow the tub to overflow -- filling the equipment compartment with water.

  • A little mop up, and you are ready for the moment of truth. You plug in the hot tub, and everything appears to be working perfectly.

  • With one small exception: no hot water is going into the hot tub -- or anywhere else for that matter.

  • Believing that an inanimate object has somehow developed a free will, you decide to wait for it to decide to work.

  • Three hours later, iceberg warnings are still being posted in the hot tub.

So, what we do we learn from this lesson?

God gave some people jobs where they can earn money to hire very gifted people to come fix things. I am a member of the first group, and when I try to be a member of the second group, I always get to pay people in the second group twice as much money to fix my mistakes.

What is the connection with Mexico? I have been really impressed with the skills that a lot of my fellow bloggers in Mexico possess. They all seem to be very handy at fixing things. Maybe I need to move next door to one of them.


Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of the time I decided - the afternoon before the holiday weekend - that I should have a dimmer on the dining room light switch. Wouldn't the holiday table look pretty if I could dim the lights? By evening I had no lights at all, dim or otherwise, in that part of the house and was unable to find an electrician to come until Monday. I ate out that year.

I've found over the years that while self-help may not be the quickest -or cheapest! - way to get the job done (as it's certainly not the first time I've done something along these lines) it always makes for a good story when I get over myself!


Islagringo said...

You'd be smart to move next door to me. I can fix anything. All I have to do is ask my friend Ivan who is the best person to hire for the job!

Babs said...

"Seem" is the operative word in your blog - I'm certainly NOT handy, but I KNOW the locals that are - price of rebuilding water heater by gardener, less then $5US, painting side of wall of house (huge wall) $70US, reupholstering chaise lounge and two chairs $90US, installing two new electrical outlets, $15US and, so it goes........Come on down, we're all waiting for you!

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your story! I went through something very similar with my hot tub many years ago. Now I strictly follow the rule of paying someone who knows what they are doing.

Steve Cotton said...

Barbara -- Ain't it the truth? I suspect I may have undertaken the task merely to write this entry. But that would be perverse even for me.

Wayne -- Maybe that's the answer. Start poaching other people's maestros.

Steve Cotton said...

Jackie -- It appears that we hot tub owners simply have to learn by doing. And the first lesson we learn is: "Don't." I was talking on the telephone with my mother just as I was about the throw the switch. She told me to call a repairmen, and then added: "Remember the boy who was electrocuted in the hot tub at Rex Putnam?" Nothing like an upbeat memory to help a project along.

Babs -- I guess the trick is the same in Mexico as it is here. Find the person who can do the job. They are out there somewhere. (That seems to work in everything but politics.)

Deb Hall ~ Zocalo de Mexican Folk Art said...

Since moving to Mexico, my answer to 99% of life's challenges is to, "Call Carlos". When you move on down, and we can't wait until you do, may you also be blessed with your own Carlos. So you see, we are handy...handy with the cell phone. (And must give full credit here. Babs, cannot thank you enough for introducing us to THE Carlos, who makes our life in Mexico hum).

Anonymous said...

What we’ve forgotten is that Steve is male. Males have a biological imperative to fix things, even if they’ve not a clue about what they’re doing. It’s right up there with not asking for directions. If there’d been a babe in the picture, he would’ve had to try even harder. Fortunately for Steve, there was no witness to impress with his mechanical skills.

This sort of reminds me when my Suburban broke down off in the country. I was accompanied by two NJBs (Nice Jewish Boys, for you goyim), whose auto repair skills amounted to knowing how to use the self-service feature at gas stations when full service wasn’t available. Both raced to crawl under the car, chattering between themselves about the lug nut and the carburetor as they extracted the fallen tail pipe. Now, if there’d been only one, he likely would’ve given the task only a cursory attempt before joining me to hail for help. They were in competition to prove who knew the most about these things. Fortunately for all of us, a passing truck stop to render aid. Otherwise, we’d still be standing out there by the side of the road.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- As Carol Kane told Woody Allen in Annie Hall: "No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype." You hit the topic right on the head.

Islagringo said...

Reading the comments on this post has been as much fun as the original post!

Steve Cotton said...

Wayne -- I agree. This is a perfect example of how blogging should work. It was almost like a session of the Algonquin Roundtable.

Todd said...

As Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor would say...


Now back to all the projects I have to finish around the house before I am allowed to go back to my blogging!!!!

Steve Cotton said...

Todd -- Blogging first -- fixin' stuff next.