Just a note on Learning: Nuggets of learning.
In the last two months, I’ve attended two conferences and built a couple really cool elearning courses (unfortunately they are proprietary or I’d share), but throughout the last two months I’ve learned a lot of new things…
Just after returning from the #LS2010, my wife showed me one of her favorite garden magazines on how to build unique planters for the patio. We had wanted to plant a few herbs, so this was an opportunity to make one. The instructions were simple, and the materials were inexpensive – clay pots, potting soil, and some herbs. After putting this together, it got my creative juices going and inspired me build something a bit more elaborate (more on that later). The important thing is adding a new Nugget of Learning to my overall knowledge.
I picked up a bunch of new Nuggets of Learning for the yard and landscaping, but the point is we are always learning. Most of the time we are not conscious of the ‘nuggets’ we acquire, but every day is an opportunity to add to our Learning Nugget library.
I do my own yard and landscaping, house maintenance, vehicle maintenance, etc. It’s rare that I will call a technician or specialist to the house unless it’s a major repair. I’m fairly sure I picked this trait up from my father and I honestly cannot recall a single time I ever saw anyone other than my dad fixing “everything” around the house to include his cars. I curse that trait in me at times and I’ve never done the math, but my guess is I’ve saved thousands of dollars doing the work myself.
Just this week, my wife’s car wouldn’t start. Odd because I had just replaced the battery last month that was about four years old. Yeah, I know…I replaced it ‘before’ it went bad. Being ASE certified I knew that a battery just doesn’t go bad on its own. It just lost its juice. That tells me that the alternator had probably failed. Unfortunately, that’s not a part that you can do any preventative maintenance…it either works or it doesn’t. Luckily it decided not to work in the driveway and not in some parking lot where my wife may have been shopping.
I’ve replaced many a alternator in my day and for the most part it’s about an hour’s job….unless it’s a compact GM! After disconnecting the battery, the next thing is to remove the serpentine belt. Problem here is there absolutely no physical way to get to it let alone remove it! Who engineered this thing anyway?! I was stumped. My dad would shoot me, but it had occurred to me to call a tow truck and have it towed to a shop…until I learned the cost of the job on this car. $600+ not including parts! To swap an alternator? You have got to be kidding me!
I can’t do much about the cost of the part, but I can do something about the labor. Free is Me! My problem was I didn’t have the knowledge to do this job on this car and the basic over-the-counter repair manuals did not cover this task. Hmm…I wonder why? Just so happens I have access to the technical service manuals the shops use 😉 Turns out, you have to remove the tire and the inner fender liner to get to the belt tensioner bracket and use a special tool to unload the spring to loosen the belt. Holy cow! It took two hours just to get the alternator out let alone putting the new one back in. Now I know why it cost $600 at a shop.
I’ll sell this car before I do that job again. Yet, I have another Nugget of Learning stored away for potential future use.
Most times when you ask someone, “What did you learn today?” they will offer something trivial and/or sarcastic. If you seriously pay attention to your day, you really do learn every day. Trivial as it may be, all nuggets lead to more knowledge. With more knowledge you too can be a NuggetHead!