I’m a fixer.
I’ve always been a fixer.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been a fixer.
I never went to school to be a fixer…though I guess you could.
I don’t remember deciding to be a fixer.
I just am. It’s part of me.
If you can find one in the average American home, I’ve probably fixed it.
I’ve fixed washing machines, disposals, cars, lawnmowers, fans, lights, sinks, faucets, and so on.
Don’t even get me started on installations. That’s a whole other post.
Even as a kid I was a fixer.
The early days
Some of my earliest memories of fixing things happened in my walk-in closet which I conveniently converted into an office/workshop.
Somehow I coerced a desk into the closet. I had to take the door off the hinges to get it in there but that’s all in a day’s work for a fixer.
My closet/workshop was a perfect place to tinker.
On this desk, I fixed all sorts of things like TVs, radios, telephones, tape players, and anything else that was slated for the next trash pickup…or not.
OK, maybe everything didn’t get fixed.
Some things just got disassembled.
I had to know what was inside. What made them work.
The challenge was to reassemble them.
To work on these projects, I maintained an assortment of tools, nothing fancy, just everyday screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches and a few pieces of wire.
Some of my early triumphs were modifications like external TV speakers, earphone jacks, and phone tapping devices.
It comes naturally
Anyway, I never attended a fixer school, never studied fixing. It just happened.
My wife has always expressed her appreciation for my fixing abilities and how much money they’ve saved us over the years.
I’m sure that’s true but in the heat of a fix, when nothing is working right, I dream of paying a repairman like other “normal” people.
Then I come to my senses and realize even if I could afford to pay someone else, I don’t think I could stop fixing.
Why I fix
Fixing is one of the ways that I show my love. One of the ways I give to others.
I fix stuff for them.
There’s something satisfying about restoring life to something someone else has pronounced dead.
I think I might have enjoyed a career as an ER doctor.
Too bad I was so undisciplined in college.
On the other hand, if I can’t revive the washing machine, we don’t have to call the next of kin.
Keys to fixing
The keys to fixing are a willingness to explore and the ability to identify things that are out of place, like a burned or broken wire, a clogged hose, a strange sound or smell.
More experienced fixers, like myself, know other tricks but the most important thing is to engage your senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch.
I try to avoid tasting if at all possible.
I’ve learned with a little information about the symptoms, I can usually disassemble until I find the problem.
Then it’s just a matter of finding the parts and installing them. Hello Google and YouTube.
I rarely get paid more than gratitude. But that’s a pretty great currency if you don’t have to fix stuff for a living.
In my life, my fixing skills have helped a lot of people, mostly my family, but others too.
It’s my gift. The way I show my love.
Giving life to a lawnmower
Recently, my legally blind neighbor had a problem with his lawnmower.
I saw him in the yard, stooped over it and decided to see if I could help.
After a short inspection, I realized I could fix it in about ten minutes with the right parts.
So I drove my neighbor to the local mower repair shop where we ordered a replacement part.
Two days later the part arrived and I installed it in about ten minutes then delivered the good news to my neighbor.
He was so thankful that I later discovered a handwritten thank you note with some cash in the front seat of my car.
Mind you, I didn’t expect payment of any kind, but my neighbor felt indebted and I knew it would be difficult to convince him to take the money back.
For me the greatest rewards were fixing the mower and helping my neighbor.
What can you give?
What gifts or interests do you have?
Those things you’d do even if no one paid attention, like letter writing, listening, smiling, knitting ,singing, drawing, organizing, cooking, and so on.
We all have unique abilities.
We use them to serve ourselves but we can use them to serve others too.
Today as you go about your daily routine, consider your gifts and look for some one you can share them with.
Even ten minutes of time, can make a difference in your life and someone else’s.
Image: © Royalty-Free/Corbis and Microsoft Photos