Man About Menifee: Skills, Work Ethic Should Be Shared

By David Baker

When I was a kid, my dad served aboard the USS Enterprise. No, not the starship, but the aircraft carrier.

You see, my dad was a Master Chief in the Navy. Part of his job was to service the F-14 Flying Tomcats aboard the aircraft carrier. My dad taught me a lot about what he did. He did not necessarily teach me about the jets themselves, but more about how tools worked and what could be done with them.

To a larger degree, I’ve had a great number of people in my life who had specialized skills they were willing to share them with me. I’ve even been able to share some tricks with them that my dad had taught me.

About eight years ago, I started working at a pipe and plumbing supply store in San Diego. Through my experiences working with plumbers and contractors, I've come to the realization that there are a large number of projects in and around the house that are surprisingly easy, if one takes the time to learn.

This is a skill and value I have tried to pass on to my children and hopefully empower them to become more self-sufficient adults. My children have helped me do everything from simple auto repair to replacing faucets, toilets and even installing, repairing and hooking up appliances. I’m proud to say that my son Nikkolas (18) has even surpassed me when it comes to technical skills.

Recently, the brakes started to squeak on Jennifer's car, so we decided to replace the brake pads. This is a procedure Nikkolas has done many times since he was about 13, so I let him take the lead. We found ourselves painted into a corner when we bought the brake pads and got the right front side changed, took off the driver side wheel and realized one of the caliper bolts had a stripped head and could not be removed.

Once again, I was wowed by the sense of community in Menifee, even over this tiny tragedy. The neighbor let me borrow some tools, an employee at a local auto repair shop whom I’ve never met heard about our dilemma and came out to help at no charge, and a friend who was an automotive technician for a large local Toyota dealer gave me some insight that helped as well.

We were able to change the brake pads, replace the caliper bolt and get Jennifer back on the road. What skills are you passing on? Leave a comment below.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at


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