Helping family and friends

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beachlion
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Location: 65 year The Hague, The Netherlands, then Allentown, PA, USA

Helping family and friends

Post by beachlion »

In the Netherlands I could study to become an engineer at a reasonable cost to me and my parents. In those days, late 60s, your parents got a form of subsidy as long as you studied until the age of 27. So I could get a good paying job thanks to the taxpayers' guilders (the Dutch currency then). For that reason my moral compass told me to give back to the community some of the results of that study.

I did that in the form of handyman assistance for family and friends. And I did quite some remodelling in the days and all sorts of repairs. Even now, in a different country on a different continent, I have the same attitude. I'm still giving assistance when there is a problem, big or small, with equipment or something else in the houses of family members or friends. Those people are getting older so they are getting less capable in coping with daily problems of a technical sort.

I'm still very willing to help them. For me it is most of the time something simple but for them it is a small disaster with no way to overcome it. It could be a burned out lamp in a fitting out of reach, a loose electrical wire or plug, a flipped circuit breaker, a flooded basement, a leaking faucet and so on. If they have to call a professional, it will cost them a lot of money. So I'm partly to blame for the decline of the US economy. I however compensate that with my taxes on my European pensions.

At least the people are thankful which translates into a nice meal or other culinary goodies. They know my weak spot of course. ;)

Is anybody else acting as the handyman in the community?
All progress takes place outside the comfort zone - M J Bobak

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crfriend
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Re: Helping family and friends

Post by crfriend »

beachlion wrote:Is anybody else acting as the handyman in the community?
I frequently help out with things, usually matters technical, but sometimes with plain chores. It depends really on what needs doing.
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pelmut
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Re: Helping family and friends

Post by pelmut »

My grandfather was too old to be called up in WWII (having done his bit in WWI), so he ran a volunteer ambulance depot and, long after the war had ended, his house was still the place to call for help in all sorts of local emergencies.  My father was a pharmacist and unofficially on call to anyone in the neighbourhood too.  Our family all lived close together, so as kids we were brought up in that atmosphere and were often dispatched to run errands or "Go and help old Mrs. So-and-so".

At work, I was usually the person drafted in to help with odd jobs (and some of them really were odd!).  My sister found she was the same: officially employed as a secretary she became part of the workshop pool of drivers and even dressed in a bikini to advertise a new model of car they were selling.  Now I am retired, I am still doing voluntary work for a canal restoration society and am constantly asked to do recordings, public address work and small repairs for neighbours, such as welding broken gates, repairing electrical items or machining up metal fittings.
There is no such thing as a normal person, only someone you don't know very well yet.

dillon
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Re: Helping family and friends

Post by dillon »

All I understand about electricity is that IT IS! And admittedly, many people are 'shocked' to learn that I am a very poor electrician... :shock:

But I digress. I went to college for $396 per semester, and $60 per month for a shitty rooming house - which was a $$sum$$ in 1976. By the time I sent my oldest child to college (to the same university from which I graduated in 1981) in 2011, it cost me around $15,000 per year, tuition and dorm lodging. And that was cheap, being a State University. Her first choice, SCAD, (Savannah College of Art and Design) was $30k per year with a scholarship that brought it down from $45k. We convinced her to go to NCSU, where she graduated summa cum laude (I graduated 'praise the laude' LOL) from the College of Textiles. She was hired right out of college at nearly the salary I was making after 30 years of service! But it wasn't satisfying to her, so after a year and a half, she quit and became a Peace Corps Volunteer, and went to teach in Ecuador for two years. She's back now, and with scholarship help, footing her own way toward a MBA at Arizona State. BTW, it was 115F in Phoenix when we moved her out there. Sheesh! My son graduated from TAMU this past spring and started his job in industrial software at 35% more than I was earning when I retired two years ago. ~smh~ As Jerry Garcia wrote, "The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get."

Anyway, I am going to the farm tomorrow, to shred some brush, if it is not too wet for my equipment. Cleaning up is a satisfying effort, although I worry about the consequences to the environment. But I plan to plant hybrid chestnut trees (American X Chinese) in a year or two, with pollinator habitat between rows of trees.
As a matter of fact, the sun DOES shine out of my ...

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