Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why I fix things

I like to fix things. Not all things. I don't know how to do plumbing (yet) and there are many, many things that I know nothing about. However, when something breaks in my house, my first impulse is to take it apart and figure out what's going on. I've been taking things apart since I was little. If it's a small household appliance, I can probably take it apart and put it back together and it will work about as well as it did before I began. After I bought the house, my scope got a little broader. Things like washers and dryers became fair game.

My reasons for this are simple. If something is broken, then there's not a lot of risk involved. It's already not working. At worst, it will continue to not work when I'm finished with it. Thanks to the internet, there are lots of places to find information on the broken thing, as well as helpful stories from other people with broken things, and sometimes tutorials and videos on how to repair broken things. So far, I've replaced the drum seal in my dryer (upper and lower) and now I've replaced the control board on my washer. (I should also add that *that* one also involved learning how to access the error codes, which is super easy, and included in the tech manual that is taped TO THE INSIDE OF THE WASHER. It is amazing. And a little bit ridiculous.)

Both repairs went well, and they didn't take as long as you might have thought. With the washer, from discovering it wasn't working (spin cycle just wasn't happening anymore) to fixing it, I think it's been about six days. That included taking apart, diagnosing, ordering the replacement part and swapping it out. I am, in my heart, a massive procrastinator, so I'm proud that I actually got it done within a week. Proud, and a little surprised, as I am whenever I do something right away instead of waiting, despite spending the last decade developing habits that help mitigate my tendencies.

Another thing I've learned how to do since my last blog post (ages ago! I am not good at blogging AT ALL!) is replacing the front wheel hub assembly on a mid-2000s GM car. I hired a mechanic to come to my house and teach me how to do it. It cost very slightly less than getting it done at a shop, very slightly more than just having the mechanic fix it in my driveway, and now I know a new thing. Here's a key element, though - he did one side, and then I did the other. Watching someone fix something is interesting. Fixing a thing yourself is invaluable. The difference between someone who kind of has an idea of how to do something and someone who knows how to do stuff? Actually doing the stuff.

That's the crux of why I like to fix things. I want to be someone who knows how to do stuff, and every time I dig into something instead of calling someone else, I become more the person that I want to be.

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