Monday, 23 January 2017

Recession Turned me into a Handyman

Source: Shutterstock

Since the economic meltdown in the country started, we have been denied a lot of things that were easily gotten in the good old days. For example,in my area,one could buy an extension at the rate of #300 to more but now the cheapest you can get is sold at #600. Nigerian goods notable for what they are wouldn't even last long enough to justify the outrageous sum you shelved out to acquire them. Finding myself in this kind of situation has made me re-adjust and adopt the DIY ( Do-It-Yourself) mode.

Remember all those hours we felt we wasted in school learning physics and its mathematical expression? Just like you I knew I wasn't going into Engineering so it felt like a waste taking all those classes and exams on Physics. I remember Mr Egenti and "Corper" A teaching us electrical circuit, Optics and so on. I remember the long hours spent plotting graphs and finding their slope. The one I hated the most was finding error in slope or error in k. All i wanted was for my teachers to teach me biology so I can move on and become a Doctor or a Pharmacist, yet they kept boring me to death with talks of optical images, red wires and the rest.

Well, Years after leaving the walls of High School, the Buhari-led government finally gave me a reason to appreciate all those Physics classes. It all started with a plumber charging a school mate #4000 to fix her clogged kitchen sink. At that time, my pocket was already in recession. So, I thought that was an opportunity to make cool cash. So I offered to do the job for a lesser price. Luckily,she agreed and I got a hand glove and got to work. I must say, Plumbing is a nasty job. I perceived all sort of shit; at some point,I almost gave up but the thought of the cash spurred me on. At last, the job was done and I got my pay. But I told myself,it was the last time I would be doing a plumbing job.

Sometime later that month, my extension cord burnt, I didn't know what to do, so I bought another one. Can you imagine I bought two more extension cords same month because this is Nigeria where things don't ever last. When the last one burnt, I decided to open it up and see what was wrong. As soon as I did, the residual knowledge from Electricity Physics Classes years back began flooding in. After thorough check,I discovered the red hot wire was cut from the switch. I suspected it was the issue so I got a black tape and joined it to the switch(I had no soldering equipment). I tested it after murmuring my last prayer to God in case the whole room starts burning due to wrong connection. Luckily it worked. My extension cord was back to normal. I regretted throwing away the old ones. Since then, I started helping friends to repair theirs too. I have not bought an extension cord for 1 year and 7 months now. I am still using that my taped one.

After I got rid of the extension cord issue, my generating set decided to send me back to the village. It came to a point where I serviced it every Saturday. And each servicing session would take nothing less than #1500 from my pocket. The one that broke the camel's back was a time I spent #6000 repairing a generating set I had earlier repaired that week with #1800. After that episode I went back home and decided if it malfunctions again, I was going to ignore it and live without electricity. Not long after it happened, I ignored it for 2 days but I couldn't bear it much longer so I took a screw and other stuffs and opened the generator. After 40 minutes of looking into the set, I discovered where the malfunction came from, I fixed it once again with my black tape(LOL) and voila the set came back to life. This was an issue that sucked #1000- # 6000 from me every week. How did I know? The generating set spoiled after some weeks and when I opened it up again it was same issue,my tape had worn out so i put on a new one. It's been 3 months now since I took the set to the repairer. Funny thing about this is each time I pass by the repairer's shop, his workers will be giving me this "Your gen never spoil" look. One day one of them decided to ask me what was happening and I told him, Jesus has fixed the generator. 

Moral of the story : Being a handyman saves you a lot of money and you learn new things.

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