you’re only human, it’s all right to make mistakes
If you do most things for yourself, eschewing messy decorators, useless contractors, and rip-off garages, then every now and again you are bound to commit one of the classic howlers. Mistakes you could kick yourself for. Really stupid mess-ups that leave you thinking; ‘how the hell do I get out of this one…..?’
I might admit to being guilty of some or all of these;
- Painting yourself into a corner. You can either walk on it or wait until it dries.
- Touching a spark-plug lead while the engine is running. If you’re healthy you’ll just get a terrific jolt, if you have a heart pacemaker you might get dead.
- Opening the radiator cap on a hot engine. Getting scalded hurts.
- Over-tightening a nut so the bolt / stud snaps. That is likely to be expensive to repair, unless you know how.
- Sawing off the branch you’re sitting on. The fall hurts.
- Sawing off the branch your ladder is leaning against. The fall hurts.
- Taking off the bathroom door handle and closing the door while you’re inside, with no way to open the door to get out.
- Putting up a picture / shelf by hammering a nail / drilling into the wall, and going right through a water pipe. Flooding is expensive to repair, so is the big hole you’re going to have in the wall.
- Ditto an electrical cable or gas pipe.
- Not learning how to use a spirit level and putting up a shelf.
Today I was guilty of #7. Just as well I took lessons from a master locksmith.
Some say that we learn by our mistakes. And that necessity is the mother of invention. All I know is that I can now build, decorate, install, make, repair….. just about anything ~ and I have the scars to prove it.
I didn’t build that,
but I could
f you have to love your car for it to love you back
the radiator is the square black thing at the front
An American friend of mine is on a long toad trip, and she’s worrying a bit because her car is on the verge of overheating on long mountain climbs. Well, as a guy well-used to running old cars I personally wouldn’t worry so much unless the thing actually boiled, and then I’d let it cool down completely, top up the radiator, and carry on. (BTW, always carry a can of oil and some engine coolant in the back of your vehicle. And learn some basic car mechanics.)
There are 4 main reasons that a car will overheat;
- It’s leaking coolant through a hose joint, (or the radiator itself, or the water pump).
- The thermostat is faulty.
- The electric fan isn’t working.
- The water pump is busted, (or the drive-belt to the water pump is broken, or slipping).
Three of those faults are easy to check for. #1 there will be a pool of coolant under the car when it’s been parked for a while. #2 the radiator will be cool when the engine is hot. #3 with the car parked and the engine running the fan should come on when the engine gets hot. Trust me you will be able to hear it when it’s working.
#4 needs a mechanic, and as water pumps almost last forever it’s unlikely to be busted unless it’s an older car. In which case check to see if it’s ever been replaced. This fault is the least likely. If the pulley is turning the pump is working. If your AC and electrics are working it isn’t a drive-belt problem.
Actually there is a 5th reason, you are working the car very, very hard indeed, like climbing up a mountain. There is a limit to how hard you can work anything or anyone, and if you pass that limit things will start to go wrong.
Faults 1, 2, 3, and 5 are very easily cured, (9 times out of 10).
The trouble is few people know much about car mechanics, and if you take it into a shop you are likely to be stuffed with the cost of the most expensive repair possible, so learn just a little practical car mechanics. It’s a few hours and will save you a lot of time, money, and worries. (Sometime your car isn’t overheating at all the gauge on the dashboard is giving a false reading.)
(On older cars there is always the possibility that the cooling system is furred-up, in which case it would benefit from flushing. Here’s how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s–5ft5YiHg ).
Treat your car well, and it will repay the favour.
the radiator is the black thing at the front
learning is not compulsory, neither is survival
learn woodworking and gardening
There was a time when most men could turn their hand to just about anything; from growing their own vegetables to completing their tax returns, from plumbing to motor maintenance. Yet I know some young guys who are so impractical they can’t even put up a shelf. I once met a guy who didn’t know how to open the bonnet, (hood), on his car ~ let alone check the oil. Hell, I once met a blonde girl who couldn’t open her fuel filler cap.
But we are not talking about girls here, we are talking about real urban survival skills for real men. What does a guy need to be able to do to survive and thrive? Leave out the whole surviving alone in the deep woods thing, (with a camera crew, doctor, and evac helicopter on standby). Let’s concentrate instead on what a cool guy living a great life should be able to do, and most can’t even make a decent attempt at. In no particular order;
- cooking ~ from making an omelette to an impressive signature dish. including doing the shopping and cleaning afterwards.
- DIY ~ how to you loosen a bolt?
- finance ~ budgeting, balancing your income and expenditure, completing official paperwork, negotiating a loan.
- first aid and CPR ~ from the Heimlich Maneuver, to using a tourniquet.
- health and fitness ~ fresh air, diet, food supplements, exercise.
- motor maintenance ~ from checking the tyres, lights, and fluids to doing a complete exhaust rebuild, to building an entire damn car.
- navigate from A to B without sat-nav ~ can you find north, use a compass, read a map, know how far a mile is?
- read, write, and do arithmetic ~ do you read interesting and challenging books? can you write a letter in cursive script? Can you make change, approximate pi, and work out a right-angle?
- safety and security ~ is your home safe and secure and can you walk the streets at night?
- disaster recovery ~ what will you do if there’s an earthquake, or a wild-fire, or flood, or your home just suddenly becomes uninhabitable?
For once, I haven’t given you lots of links, because a man should be able to find appropriate stuff on the internet, and not just be able to find his own particular taste in porn. So whatever you can’t do, start learning…..
There are a lot more things that a true Renaissance Man is capable of, from building and sailing a boat, to building a car, to building his own home from scratch. In extremis a real man knows how to survive natural and man-made disasters. There is even a list of 100 skills every man should know, (but no Englishman needs to know how to throw a good spiral). And, a real man understands the art of attracting women and keeping her happy once he has won her.
Some say they don’t need to do anything because they can always hire someone else to do it. And that guys don’t cook, clean, or do the laundry, real guys just have fun. All I know is that I can’t bake a cake.
learn car mechanics