Friday, March 26, 2010

Dare to Repair

When I was in elementary school I was enrolled in the T.A.G. program. It stood for Talented and Gifted. 

Now, before you start thinking very highly of me, this Dippy Do had to call the refrigerator repairman earlier this week to ask him how to turn the fridge on. (Fortunately, I discovered the "on" switch before he called me back.) So I'm not that Talented and Gifted. 

I'll never forget one of my TAG sessions. We were taken to this garage-type room of the school and asked to dismantle an entire push lawnmower. We quickly got to work taking all the parts off of it. When we were done the instructor said, "Okay, now put it back together."

Apparently it was their belief that smart people learn about things by taking them apart and putting them back together. 

I was not impressed. 

I was 10. Besides, my Dad used a riding lawnmower at home. I had no use for learning how a push lawnmower worked.

Though I was miffed at being asked to put an unimportant machine back together, that idea stuck with me for the rest of my life. All those times I saw my Dad fixing something or building something at our house suddenly made sense. So THAT'S how my Dad figured stuff out! I remember he always had a book in one hand, and a tool in another, whether he was fixing a car or the dishwasher or rewiring the house. 

My Dad is a self-taught man. He can fix cars like you wouldn't believe, yet he never took a single auto mechanics class. He learned how to wire the house he built by reading a book. He learned plumbing the same way. He hooked up furnaces, our wood burning stoves, everything, by reading and figuring it out for himself.  Right now he's teaching himself how to do body work and paint jobs on cars.

So today when the part arrived for my refrigerator it occurred to me that I could probably figure it out myself, instead of paying the repairman $100 for labor. He was set to come tomorrow. So I got out my tools while Olivia played in her room, pretending to give her dolly PiPi drinks of tea from her random toys. She does not have a teaset, but I'm totally getting her this one for her unBirthday (half birthday--why not?):

Nice plastic teasets are hard to find. Often they have garish cartoon characters on them or something. Not necessary.  As a bonus, this one is made in the USA from recycled milk jugs. Well done, Pottery Barn Kids!

Anyway, back to the fridge. I looked online to find out how to get to the part to replace it. Apparently there is a panel at the back of the freezer that I had never noticed before. So I opened it up and found the part that I had to replace, and replaced it. I had never seen the inside of a fridge before, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was pretty straight forward. And as long as you remember where everything goes, you can put it back together (without having any extra screws!!).

Then plugged in the fridge, sat back, and was thankful for my TAG pushmower experience and for my Dad's example.


Tommy said...

Nicely done. You are now accepted into the League of Extraordinary Reparimen. We get to say cool phrases like "well there's your problem." There is also the benefit of making up phony names for broken parts so that others will be clueless as to what you are talking about.

Just tell JB that you replaced the rotational transfucticator in the fridge and that "they don't make 'em like they use to."

The Contemplative Mama said...

Great job April..I'm impressed!!! Love the tea set too!

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you forgot to tell her she gets to wear a tool belt and let it all hang out! :)


Anonymous said...

Saves thousands in repairs to DIY. is a great site and cheap prices, too, on parts.

Haller4307 said...

I am so impressed.

Anonymous said...

...AND now you are qualified to charge $100 and fix OTHER people's rotational transfucticators. :-) HA!