Today, the instruction and guidance I have to give is "home grown."
I realize that I have been semi-retired for a couple of years now and I have found myself tackling many new and interesting life skills that I normally paid others to do.
Lately, it seems like I am working on my certification to become a "Master Plumber"
In the just the past couple of months I have:
- Replaced the entire underground manifold of anti-siphon valves (5 of them) for my front lawn sprinkler system
- Replaced the entire underground manifold of anti-siphon valves (4 of them) for my rear lawn sprinkler system
- Replaced the float mechanism on my pool leveler
- Replaced two garbage disposals
- Removed and reseated a leaking toilet at our rental house - twice
- Replaced the mechanical thermostat on my pool heater
- Replaced the flush valves in all 4 of the toilets in my home
- Replaced 5 sprinkler heads
- Repaired 2 broken sprinkler system lines
These are not skills I had a few months ago.
I really didn't plan on becoming a plumber but something inside of my aging brain told me that I needed to learn how to do things like this.
Does it seem normal to you that mastery of these skills have become important to me so late in life?
Sure, I did my due diligence by researching the internet for instructions on how to fix these things and watched a few YouTube videos to make sure I knew what went where but I completed the tasks myself.
I got my own hands dirty !!!
Yes, this question applies to both men and women baby boomers.
Well, if they have then you should check out my list below of what I think are the Top 10 "Must Know" life skills that every "Baby Boomer", both male and female need to master.
I am sure there are hundreds of skills that would look great on your resume ranging from killing animals for food to building your own furniture but I am going to keep my list relatively simple and applicable to day-to-day living.
You probably have some of these skills already and if so good for you.
If not, then remember: "Practice Makes Perfect" (or at least much better).
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (which is a department of Homeland Security no less), 94% of the time a home fire can be successfully extinguished within 2 minutes with the use of a residential fire extinguisher.
A simple acronym found in the Health & Safety Manual of Columbia University will help you remember how to react and fight a small house fire:
IF YOU DISCOVER A FIRE – REMEMBER:
RACE and PASS
R - RESCUE anyone in immediate danger
A - Activate the ALARM
C - CONFINE the fire (close the door)
E - EXTINGUISH small controllable fires/or EVACUATE
P - PULL the pin
A - AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire
S - SQUEEZE handle
S – SWEEP from side to side
If it is a grease fire you encounter on the stove do not pour water on it or try to move the pan to the kitchen sink.
This can just spread the fire.
Smother the flames with a large metal object or with baking powder to remove the source of oxygen.
If that doesn't help then use a chemical fire extinguisher.
Here's a modern skill that most of us haven't had a chance to master yet because we are probably still using the first computer we ever bought.
This skill is probably the single most effective way to prevent any identity theft from occurring in your life.
You may not realize it but your old hard drive holds all of your personal and private information in numerous different forms and any would-be identity thief would love to get their hands on it.
You may think simply deleting your document files or reformatting the hard drive removes all of this vital information because to you the computer looks helpless but most of this information is hidden in cache and deep in operating programs that you would never imagine.
Formatting your hard disk rearranges the information and programs on the hard drive to disengage the operating systems of the computer but anyone with advanced computer language skills who understands hard drives can easily un-format the drive and restore it to its previous condition.
There are two surefire ways to eliminate the information in your files for good.
A. If you don't want to destroy the functionality of the computer (maybe to donate it to a worthy cause) then you can use reliable disk-cleaning software which is even free on the internet.
Three of the top programs according to the website About.Com include:
- DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) is the best free data destruction software available. DBAN is freely available in a ready-to-go ISO format so all you need to do is burn it to a CD and boot to it. The DBAN program's menu interface is also very easy to use
- Freeraser is a full-fledged Windows application, complete with a setup wizard and Start Menu icons. Freeraser doesn't wipe an entire drive like DBAN but it should be the program of choice if you want to completely erase individual files and folders from Windows.
- Disk Scrubber is a data wiper program that runs in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Disk Scrubber can remove individual files and folders or wipe an entire drive.
By cleaning and wiping your computer hard drive this way you reduce toxic waste in our landfills and at the same time you can help out those in need.
B. Nothing beats the old fashioned way to wipe your hard drive - physical destruction.
That's right, remove the disks and run them through an industrial shredder.
If you can't find this type of service available in your neighborhood then rip into them with band cutters, a hack saw or a nice big drill bit.
I thoroughly enjoyed destroying my old computer.
In fact, I spent the good part of an hour taking it apart piece by piece to look at the guts and then what I couldn't cut up or mutilate I bent into submission with a 5 lb hammer.
Not only was the experience enjoyable and educational but I got a nifty aerobic session in as well.
Here's a skill that has been lost to modern technology.
Ladies, this is a not strictly just a "man" skill.
Nothing smells or tastes better than seared animal flesh over a hot bed of hickory wood and coals.
Most of us unfortunately have gas grills and have lost the skill for grilling over charcoal years ago.
Here's what the experts recommend:
Cluster the coals on one side of the grill with as little space between the briquettes as possible.
This minimizes airflow, which keeps coals burning longer.
Add a flavored wood to the mix (hickory, mesquite, etc) for interesting flavor and added moisture.
For direct grilling (burgers, steaks, fish fillets), place the food above the burning coals.
Only turn your meat once!
For lower-temperature, indirect grilling (chicken, ribs, roasts) place the food well away from the coals.
Shut the lid; open it only to check whether the food is done.
Don't waste the flavor and/or dry out the meat by constantly checking on the food every couple of minutes.
Never.....never cut into the meat while it is cooking to see if it is done.
Today, everything has a camera.
Your phone, ipad, tablet and even children's toys take better pictures than the top line cameras of yesteryear.
Everyone thinks they are an amateur Ansel Adams or Helmut Newton waving their phones at every family gathering and at every sunset.
Check out FaceBook, Pinterest or Instagram if you don't believe me.
But do you know how to get expert results from your photo shots?
Use a camera !!!
You will never get a great shot on anything else.
Portraits are the most popular type of photography, often with the most disappointing results.
To properly frame a face, opt for a zoom between 120 and 150 mm, says Lynn Donaldson, who shoots for National Geographic Traveler.
Any wider and you risk exaggerating features.
But zoom in too much and you can add the illusion of weight, because longer lenses compress space.
Opt for a simple background; avoid bright light directly in front of subjects (they'll squint) or behind them—automatic cameras darken the foreground until your subjects look like silhouettes.
To counteract this, turn the flash on. "You can almost always use your flash in the sun," Donaldson says. "It evens out skin tones and makes wrinkles and dark circles disappear."
OMG, here is a skill that has vanished from the face of this earth.
When I was younger, the first thing I was taught when learning to drive was how to parallel park.
I took pride in my ability to back into a space just inches bigger than my car in one move.
In Chicago, where I grew up, your friends and family actually laughed at you if you struggled with parallel parking.
So how do you perfect the technique?
First, use the parked car in front of the space as a guide.
Pull up a foot or so along side this car and drop your shifter into reverse.
Start turning the wheel to the right when your side mirror lines up with the front car's front door.
When the front seat is even with the rear bumper of the front car, straighten the wheel and aim straight back for the far corner of the space.
Alternate between looking back over your right shoulder and using your mirrors.
When the right front bumper just clears the left rear bumper of the front car, cut the wheel quickly to the left and finish backing into the space.
To straighten out, turn the steering wheel to the right and pull forward.
I see people now-a-days attempting to parallel park in spots the size of a football field run up on the curb, bump the car behind them and get stuck 4 feet from the curb going back and forth turning the wheel the wrong ways.
Then they eventually pull out and go find a parking garage to pull into straight.
A lost art, parallel parking is !!!
Are you the master of your own universe?
Can you at least handle the life skills above?
If not, are you going to try them out over the next couple of weeks.?
I know I promised you 10 Tips but I think I will save the last 5 for next week.
That way you have all week to practice these and that satisfaction will drive you to learn even more.
Sneaky, aren't I?
If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to.
It's easy to tell them about it.
Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.
The more Baby Boomers we can help the better place we make this world !!!
Thanks for joining me..........................................................