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It may be that marine related stuff is still well within your comfort zone, and also within what you see yourself as competent at. You may not feel that you are as qualified with regards to the house, yard or automotive chores.

Ask yourself, "How do I view myself as a sailor?" Then ask yourself, "How do I view myself as a gardener, automechanic, or handyperson?" I bet the answers are not the same.

Granted, that outboard motors are significantly less complex in many cases than are automobile engines, especially in today's computerize-everything-on-a-car attitude. But many things are very similar, with the majority of the difference being one of scope.

Like changing the oil on a car... same as on most four-stroke outboards. Drain oil, replace filter, add oil back in. The difference is that the 20 HP outboard might take a quart or two, and your car four or five.

Repairs on most boats use a very similar skill set to those required for doing a lot of household projects. Repairing a cupboard door is pretty much the same whether the object the cupboard is located in is a boat or a house. Same with sinks and toilets/heads. The head on a boat is more complicated in some ways than the toilet in a house... but most of the tools and techniques are identical.

As for confidence... look at how you handled the mast breaking on your boat the other day.... many sailors I know, myself probably among them, would have dropped the sails and then come in under power... but you managed to sail in without assistance.


Perhaps there's a way you could hire yourself out as a boat caregiver (sort of like a nanny for an overworked person's boat)? I'm sure many feel about their boats as you do about your house/car...


Do you tend to do the boat stuff in company with others? You might be drawing part of your energy for tasks by the fact that other people are around and that you don't feel like you're struggling by yourself; that if you see something you don't know how to do, there's an old guy back at the dock whom you can ask. If that's true, perhaps you should try to bring the same sense of community to your house and yard work.

Home Depot sells this nifty book on home repair. It tells you how to do a lot of things you're feeling uncomfortable about. It could be your starting point to overcoming some of these fears.

I highly recommend a book called "Dare to Repair: A Do-it-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home." It's not at all condescending, has super helpful diagrams, and is extremely clear. I use it all the time, and have given it (even to guys) as a housewarming gift. It's less than $10 on Amazon, and well worth it.

Carol Anne

On the automotive front, based on what I know about you, I'd recommend that you get a shop manual for your car. If it's a recent model, go to the dealer and get the manufacturer's shop manual -- it will probably set you back eighty bucks or more, but it will be worth it. If your car is older, go to an auto-parts store (or the Web) and get a third-party manual. My favorite is Haynes (as far as I'm concerned, nobody else has such great pictures), but Chilton's is also big, and there are some others.

Buy the manual, and just read it in your spare time, as you'd read any other interesting nonfiction book. And if something happens with your car, you will at least have some orientation that can help you deal with it. But probably, you'll have even more -- you will have a good idea of how to figure out what's wrong, and you can also figure out whether the repair is something you can do or something you'd rather pay someone else to do. That's power -- you aren't at the mercy of the "service representative" who gets a commission based on what services you order.

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