Author Topic: Share how knowing skills saved your day  (Read 8316 times)

Offline AZDuffman

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 64
  • Karma: 2
  • New TSP Forum member
Share how knowing skills saved your day
« on: April 01, 2014, 05:27:29 PM »

I have a friend or a few who just don't see how the learning skills thing is valuable.  I feel they as much think it is either "cute" or there are better things to do.  I've been trying to learn skills informally and unorganized a few years now, just signing for 13 Skills this year.  It has been nice, but tonight was the first time in a long time I really saw how great it was to know skills.  Probably in top 10 of my life.

Bear with me a sentence or two here and I will get to it.......

I bought a very, very fixer-upper duplex two summers ago.  I mean a mess.  But affordable so I can pay it off in 5 years or so, even with no tenant.  Debt elimination is the first rule of prep IMHO.  So some of the major work it needed was plumbing, place was a plumbers nightmare.  I knew some basic plumbing, but what I knew was old school and not great for emergencies.  As part of the remodel my brother showed me stuff called "Pex."  Easiest stuff to work with, though not the cheapest.

I get home today, ready to do something constructive and I smell water but not sure.  I go downstairs for something else and then *hear* water.  Fitting on a pipe came apart, water gushing all over.  Level 1 water leak.  I turned it off right away, cleared the drain and the immediate emergency stopped.  (Prep practice already helping.)

I take a look and it looks a mess.  It is 6:00 so a plumber is going to be hard to come by and cost big time.  While waiting for a few texts to be returned to find a referral.  As I am I look closer, size it up, and realize I can fix this myself, fairly easy.  Trip to The Home Depot and get 4 fittings.  I have some tubing and pipe cutter.   Boom, boom, boom, done.

So what did my preps and skills do for me?

1.  I didn't panic.  I rushed to turn the water off, but no panic.
2.  I knew what to look for.  Sure, I could have hired out the plumbing when I remodeled.  Next time I very well may for at least some of it.  But by digging in the first time I knew what I had, even if I didn't know each and every term.
3.  Because of #2 I knew how to fix it.  I fixed it in 2 hours or so, which is probably less than it would take for an on-call plumber to even arrive.
4.  My cost for materials was about $47, add the gas I burned off and call it $50.  I can't see an on-call plumber getting out of their truck for <$200.

This is not to brag, it is to inspire.  Any other stories from you peeps out there?

Oh, next time my buddy says just hire someone I will smile to myself.

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2014, 12:12:10 PM »
I am not ignoring you, but thinking..

Skills that I have learned over the years, although not being used every day are valuable. Often even if the skill is not one close to the one you actually need, you have enough skills to be brave enough to tackle something. Many skills are invaluable, save money, save time. Sometimes there is no one to 'do' for you. Many of my skills are so used so often, that I don't even think I am doing anything extraordinary.

I have a friend or a few who just don't see how the learning skills thing is valuable.  I feel they as much think it is either "cute" or there are better things to do. 

It is your friends who are confusing to me. Can they change a tire? Or do they call AAA and wait for hours for them to show up? I used to be really good at changing a tire once a week and got really good at it. Would they feel helpless at not taking a Basic First Aid class or would they be taking pictures with their cell phone instead of helping the victim? Would they know how to turn off their water if they had an incident like yours. Can they survive if their car runs off the road in a snowstorm in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere? People like that boggle my brain.

Cedar

nelson96

  • Guest
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2014, 04:43:02 PM »
I have a friend or a few who just don't see how the learning skills thing is valuable.  I feel they as much think it is either "cute" or there are better things to do.

I agree with Cedar on all, but I feel sorry for your friends, they must have a pretty boring life to not even have a hobby to learn and enjoy.

Offline busymomx3

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 650
  • Karma: 18
  • Starting to get the hang of this.
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2014, 05:51:19 PM »
The best example I can think of is that I can crochet and have made blankets and hats.  They have come in handy when our power went out or just wanted to snuggle :).
I have become much more self sufficient learning new skills and homesteading.  I have gained confidence and saved money since I could just do it myself.  Sure we made mistakes when we put in our first floor but when we helped our friends with their floor it was our third or fourth time laying floor and we knew what pitfalls to watch for.  It saved them a bunch of money.  Basic construction building skills come in handy on our farm all the time.  But I guess if you live in the city you wouldn't see the value in this.  I'm sorry your friends are so dependent on the system.

FarmerJim

  • Guest
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 11:21:23 PM »
The best example I can think of is that I can crochet and have made blankets and hats.  They have come in handy when our power went out or just wanted to snuggle :).
I have become much more self sufficient learning new skills and homesteading.  I have gained confidence and saved money since I could just do it myself.  Sure we made mistakes when we put in our first floor but when we helped our friends with their floor it was our third or fourth time laying floor and we knew what pitfalls to watch for.  It saved them a bunch of money.  Basic construction building skills come in handy on our farm all the time.  But I guess if you live in the city you wouldn't see the value in this.  I'm sorry your friends are so dependent on the system.

At least half a dozen of my family in GA wear winter caps that my wife knitted this past fall! I try to keep my garden fully fertilized with fertilizers that I've made myself, even in our daily life the skills we learn can help immensely.

Offline AZDuffman

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 64
  • Karma: 2
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 06:58:35 AM »


It is your friends who are confusing to me. Can they change a tire? Or do they call AAA and wait for hours for them to show up? I used to be really good at changing a tire once a week and got really good at it. Would they feel helpless at not taking a Basic First Aid class or would they be taking pictures with their cell phone instead of helping the victim? Would they know how to turn off their water if they had an incident like yours. Can they survive if their car runs off the road in a snowstorm in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere? People like that boggle my brain.

Cedar

They have learned some stuff over the years but are not as good as me, not that I am great by a long shot.  I consider myself trying to be classic-manly, meaning I can stop the immediate problem on most things and fix some things.  I put them as not boring but annoying if a prep-need comes up in even a small way.  The first prep in any situation is usually "assess the situation."  When I try to do that they will yap and yap.  My reply is I can fix it.  I can do magic, but I can't do miracles.

On cars, one replaced a car when it had life left because of a corroded battery.  His dad came to salvage it for sale (it was actually a good car so don't take "salvage" wrong.)  Says,"my dad put something on the battery to get rid of it."  So I say, "baking soda and water."  He says, "I don't know what it was."  I reply "baking soda and water."  This repeated a few times, I tried to tell him I was telling him what it was because I knew this at age 12 and you need to know basic home chemistry.

Maybe I will have more luck with the prep group I am trying to start here as soon as I set up a meeting, nice weather has me too busy to want to meet at Panera.

Offline machinisttx

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 845
  • Karma: 48
  • yay
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 05:37:35 PM »
A year or two ago the radiator in my jeep failed in spectacular fashion....one of the plastic tanks on the ends ruptured. I replaced the radiator with an aftermarket all metal unit to avoid that in the future, but I digress. A week or so after replacing the radiator I was on my way to the gym when I smelled coolant and saw steam coming from under the hood. Not good, but I was only a couple of blocks from an autoparts store so I drove to their parking lot. Turned out that the lower radiator hose had blown off of the water pump. Evidently I hadn't gotten the hose clamp tight enough. I had to buy a couple of gallons of antifreeze and a screwdriver. Thirty minutes later, arms covered with grease, grime and a couple minor burns, I was back on my way and haven't had any trouble since, other than it being time to replace the water pump again. Not really so much about skills as not being afraid to get dirty doing manual labor though I guess.

There's a different lesson in this one--- Same jeep began giving intermittent trouble about starting. Most times it would start just like normal, other times it would turn over very slowly, and occasionally it would not even crank, as if the battery was dead. The battery was good(had it tested), so I checked all the wiring and the connections. Could not find any problems there, so I came to the conclusion that the starter was going bad. I happened to have a spare starter, so I threw it in the back of the jeep figuring that if I got stranded I could just swap it out in a parking lot. As it turned out, that's pretty close to what happened, with the exception of me changing out the starter, LOL. Only three bolts hold the starter on, and there are only two wiring connections. The wiring connections and two of the bolts were loose in less than ten minutes. The third bolt though, well, I couldn't access it with the wrenches I had due to where it was located. A socket and ratchet is needed. Even though I had tools and the part, I didn't have the right tools, so I was stranded anyway.

Offline has_been18

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 04:54:46 PM »
We were on our way to Yellowstone National Park. Takes two days to get there for us so we stayed in Casper WY at the end of the first day. Next day, a SUNDAY, we left the motel. Got about a mile, and the car overheated.  I opened the hood and noticed the electric fan wasn't running at all even though it was clearly overheated. Had to wait for it to cool down. Poured all our drinking water in to refill the radiator. While waiting during the cool down, I noticed a truck stop on the hill about a mile distant. So we drove up there, and it got hot again.

Knowing it was Sunday and nobody would be working on cars.

Went into the truck stop and bought alligator clips and some insulated wire. Used my pocket knife to peel about 1/4" of the insulation from the wires near the fan (the peeled sections needed to be offset to prevent a short, and I taped around the clip on the red wire to prevent a short to ground). Clipped a jumper wire to the red wire which I expected to be the (+) side and another to the black wire (-).  Fed them in a safe route up to the battery and cut them to length, added another alligator clip to each. Then attached them to the battery terminals, and the fan started running. Obviously, a relay or something was preventing the fan from getting current. Fortunately, it was not the fan itself that was bad.

So I said to the wife, are you ready to continue on to Yellowstone (where we had reservations at the Old Faithful Inn).  She said, "Really?" We were delayed about 90 minutes in all.

A few miles down the road she said, "You're just magic!" 

We did spend the next week having to pop the hood and disconnect the fan at every stopover, but we got to finish our trip. When we got home, my regular mechanic replaced a relay for us, and taped the wires where they were stripped of insulation.

I did a stint at light duty auto mechanics while in college, afternoons and weekends. Learned some very valuable skills then.

HB

Offline has_been18

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 05:01:35 PM »
On my honeymoon trip to Texas many years ago, I took along some tools since we were poor.  I ended up having to change the water pump on the car on the way to Texas (in the motel parking lot--there was an auto parts store close by).  And on the way back I had to replace the battery.

Not very difficult stuff, but it saved us money we didn't have. 

HB

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 05:12:08 PM »
Good job has_been18

Cedar

Offline desmond11

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 4
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 07:00:47 PM »
To many to count.especially with the internet there is not much that you can't tackle yourself now a days. I love the feeling of not knowing how to do something ,do a little research,then accomplishing the task at hand.good for you on having the courage to do intimidating things.

Offline helix2301

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
  • Karma: 5
  • techgeek and ham radio operator
    • The Technology Geek Podcast
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 08:39:04 AM »
To many to count.especially with the internet there is not much that you can't tackle yourself now a days. I love the feeling of not knowing how to do something ,do a little research,then accomplishing the task at hand.good for you on having the courage to do intimidating things.

I agree I am not a huge car guy and I looked up on youtube how fix my wifes car and yep all fixed. I can't tell you how many times having my gobag/edc bag has shaved me more then I can count.

Offline has_been18

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
Re: Share how knowing skills saved your day
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2015, 03:25:28 PM »
To many to count.especially with the internet there is not much that you can't tackle yourself now a days. I love the feeling of not knowing how to do something ,do a little research,then accomplishing the task at hand.good for you on having the courage to do intimidating things.

An old friend told me one of the neat things about doing it yourself and saving money, is you don't have to pay taxes on the savings.  Tax free income in a sense.

You have a great point about researching a project, Desmond!