I was thinking about an old Crosby, Still, Nash and Young song today while doing a little property management maintenance. The song, “Teach your children” kept running through my mind. Why? Two reasons.
One, the house under our care has four college students in it. They don’t know anything about life and taking care of themselves. They don’t know how to change a light bulb, use a rotary dimmer, mow the grass, and a host of other things. It’s stunning. I have a great deal of dread for them if they leave the classroom and don’t end up in their chosen profession right away. They will starve.
Second, we had an issue with the washer there. So, I decided to replace it. Before Thanksgiving, I bought a washer and dryer and had them delivered. The day after Thanksgiving the company delivered them, and I received a call. The delivery man (an early 20 something) decided they wouldn’t fit in the house. Really? I asked my son, “Did they measure everything?” “Yes.” “What are the dimensions of the units?” He gave them to me. “What are the door and opening dimensions?” He gave them to me. It seemed reasonable that they wouldn’t fit. They took them back to the store.
I was out of town so I couldn’t confirm anything. When I returned, I went to the house, measured everything and then went to Home Depot to measure the appliances. The dryer would be a squeeze, but the washer would fit. There was a catch though. You had to put the washer on the basement landing, pull the bottom out until it was lying flat on its side and then slide it down the stairs. It went right in.
When I went back to Home Depot to pick up my appliances, I learned they had sent them back to the factory. Geeze! I was only out of town for 5 days. They reordered them and asked when I would like the delivery. I said, “Never.” “Why?” I told them their deliverymen had no vision. They were victims of functional fixedness. They could only see one way to deliver an appliance. This appliance delivery was going to take finesse. They didn’t have any.
Once, I traveled 4 hours to reset a GFI receptacle for one of my tenants in the Tidewater area. I told him (a 20 something student) how to reset it, and he was sure it wasn’t that. I also promised him that if I drove to Virginia Beach and reset a breaker or receptacle, I was not going to be happy. I did, and I wasn’t. My maintenance guy took over those kinds of calls shortly thereafter, but it made me wonder, “What do kids learn today while they are with their parents?”
Changing a light bulb should be home education 101. Resetting a GFI breaker may be more advanced, but barely. Tracking down where a leak is only takes a set of eyes and a little snooping. Mowing the grass only takes a decent mower and a little energy. Moms and Dads, teach your children well. One day, somebody else will have to deal with them. I did tell the boys in Virginia Beach to never call me again unless the house burnt down. I explained to them that I am not their dad or mom, and I really don’t care if their bathroom receptacle works if they can’t push a button. They never called again.
Parents, teach your children well. Their landlord doesn’t care if they are on Broadway, or if they can defuse a bomb or they can create a fossil fuel free rocket that will take men to the moon. He/she does care if they can turn a rotary dimmer and cause the lights to come on, and they know not to put chicken bones in the food disposal.