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J. D. Means

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By J. D. Means
Monday, July 02, 2012

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I guess this is a cross between self-help and humor as most emergencies are rather humorous in retrospect.

But definatly not at the time they are happening.

Being an author for children’s books, I never saw myself writing a blog about home repairs. But this morning, bright and early at 4:00am, I was making coffee and getting ready for work. Just as I poured a nice cup and was about to take a sip, I heard a drop of water hit the counter. I looked up, just in time to back away from the flood. In Dubai, our water heaters are in the
ceiling of each room that has a water heater.

I rushed out to the hall closet and grabbed the ladded and back in the kitchen to turn off the water supply to the water heater. I then turned off the heater switch and opened the faucet on hot to drain the tank.

That got me to thinking of a book I told everyone that I was going to write over the thirty odd years that I have been in aircraft maintenance, “Any Tool, When Used Properly, Can be a Hammer.” By yours truly.

I have the outline that I started a few years ago and it is great. I just need to fill it in, connect all the links and publish. It is to be a home owner’s guide to repairing everything in the house. I got the idea when I was working for Northwest Airlines and remodeling my house. I was just switching for being a project manager to a line manager. As a project manager, I worked between 14 and 18 hours a day. As a line manager, I found I was bored working only 10 hours a day. So I applied for a job at Home Depot in Fridley, Minnesota.

At the interview, the manager of the store asked what qualifications as an expert I had to work for Home Depot. I simply stated that I was the father of two girls and that anything that could ever be broken in a0 home, I have repaired. I got the job.

Back to my book. I want it to have chapters like, PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL, CARPENTRY, CARPETING, BATHROOMS, KITCHENS, ETC.. Under each Chapter I would have common and some unusual repair for homeowners. I would link each repair to parts of the book that would show the homeowner pictures and description and such on how to disassemble, repair and reassemble different types of things around the house.

From there, it would link to all the common outlets for the items required for the repair. Somehow I would get all the links to Lowes, Home depot, Menards, and all the top sellers, so that you would have a basic cost of the repair before you ever left your house.

As an Associate for Home Depot, I worked in the Plumbing department. I loved getting a customer that had not the first clue on how to change a faucet or what ever. I would talk them through it and even had some stands set up to teach them how to connect certain parts and even soldier. It was great to see the smile come over their faces as they completed each task and I sent them home with confidence.

My stepson called me from Atlanta one time to tell me his toilet was leaking. He said he could not afford a couple hundred dollars to get a plumber to fix it. I asked a few questions and then told him that it was the wax seal on the bottom. I explained how to fix it for less than $10.00 and he completed the job. He later told his friends at work how he removed his toilet, replace the wax ring and then replaced the bolts, hooked up the water supply line and TaDa! It worked. He said his friends looked at him like he had opened the gates of hell. “You are not supposed to do that! They all told him. ONLY a trained professional can do that kind of job.

I actually got a following when I worked at Home Depot. I guess it was a 1990s social network, as they sent more customers my way and virtually none of them would ever deal with another customer service associate. They would call and ask what my work schedule was, to make sure they caught me at work (I only worked 4 hours a day, and all day on Saturday).

There were many times when I would save the customer hundreds of dollars by talking them out of work they didn’t have to have done. Once, a husband and wife were almost ready to buy a water heater and an install when I asked what was the problem. “I got up today and there was water all over the floor,” the customer replied.

“Where was the water coming from? The little tube on the side or from underneath?” I asked.

“The tube. It was everywhere,” his distraught wife explained.

Grabbing and overflow valve, I handed it to the couple. Told them how to install it (Even sold them the Crescent wrench). After explaining how to turn off the power, completing the work, refilling the tank and clearing the air from the system, they were Very Happily on their way. (They became regular customers,) and quite handy (D.I.Y.s). The wife would even do projects while her husband was at work to surprise him.

Another time, a middle aged gentleman came in and complained that, “When it rains, it pours. I need to buy a new dishwasher.”

“What is wrong with it?” I asked.

“It won’t drain,” he says. “Just sell me a good dishwasher.”

“Why did you say when it rains, it pours?” my second question.

“I just installed a garbage disposal and now the dishwasher won’t drain. If you
must know,” he says testily.

“Good news for you,” I smiled, “Did you punch out the little plug in the garbage disposal, before you hooked up the hose for the dishwasher drain?”

“There’s a plug in the garbage disposal,” He asked amazed.

Another satisfied customer.

I didn't get to sell him a screwdriver, he all ready had one.

       Web Site: Millie and Honey

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Reviewed by Donna Chandler 7/2/2012
Excellent story and an even more excellent idea for a book. Good luck!


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