Many years ago, in the old country, our people knew how to fix things. If the chicken pen needed repair, they fixed it. If they needed fresh water, they dug a new well. With the advent of technology, they would try their hand at unclogging toilets, clearing gutters, changing light fixtures before calling plumbers, roofers and electricians.
Most of us today have replaced our trade skills with numbers to call other people to fix things for us. While we may have some skills remaining from watching our parents, our children are likely worse off than we were when we first bought, and while we had been able to call our fathers to come over and fix the plumbing, our children know not to call us.
Several weeks ago 20 people attended a presentation that I hosted with Links realtors Malka Abraham and Michelle Wasserlauf that featured Adam Mark, a local handyman, and Matthew Tunick of Bardia Plumbing. The focus of the evening was to provide new and prospective homeowners with access to professional tradesmen who explained some of the basic tips important to understand as a homeowner as well as to enjoy dinner at Dougie’s.
Initially the topics covered such seemingly obvious items as how often to clean air-conditioning filters and gutters and change smoke detectors. Adam described the need to power wash your wood deck to extend its life, the best way to clean your dryer vent and the importance of testing your fire and carbon monoxide alarms. He talked about the need to turn the water off outside to avoid freezing lines that risk cracking. With spring upon us, this is not something we need to worry about now, but worthwhile keeping in mind for after Sukkot.
But as Matthew spoke, the discussion moved to more detailed issues addressing different types of heating systems and drainage systems to address wet basements. New homeowners had the opportunity to get Matthew’s thoughts on how to address their very specific concerns.
In a humorous moment, Matthew explained how, due to his involvement with the frum community, he has been asked to unclog many toilets on Sunday and Monday. He suggested pre tearing toilet paper rather than using tissues or wipes. In response to a question concerning how to dispense with grease, he was adamant in stating it should not be poured down the sink or the toilet but should be put in an old can and thrown out.
The attendees were very happy with the presentation and expressed an interest in additional presentations from other tradesmen. Several availed themselves of Adam’s offer to walk through their new home and explain basic maintenance methods in caring for their home.
Together with Malka and Michelle, it’s my goal to provide a series of seminars aimed at helping new homeowners understand how to care for their homes. We have scheduled a new presentation that will highlight a local electrician and a landscaper, to be held at the Citibank Englewood branch on April 24 at 7:00 p.m. Come armed with questions about your electricity and landscaping concerns and with an appetite because dinner will also be served. You may not develop the handyman skills of our ancestors but hopefully you’ll be better prepared and perhaps will be able to repair the chicken pen if it needs fixing. Please contact [email protected] or 917-270-0593 to make a reservation.
By David Siegel
David Siegel is a home lending officer with Citibank in the Englewood and Clifton offices. He can be reached at 917-270-0593 or