How To… prepare a car kit.

An overlooked part of housekeeping is car keeping. Most housekeepers, be they bachelors and bachelorettes, housewives or househusbands, will run a car. Even if they don’t, there’s a high probability that someone else in the household owns and runs a car. However we tend to view the car maintenance and care as a separate thing to the household, the exclusive property and duty of the owner, rather than a shared commodity and space that needs to be kept in order.

Just as a housekeeper may clean their partner’s office or help them tidy up the gym after a workout, a housekeeper can help with the maintenance of the car by providing a kit that the driver can keep in the boot in case they need anything in particular.

If you are not the main driver, make sure to speak with the car owner about what they use in their car, what they would like to have and what they find themselves running out of. Feel free to make suggestions once they are done to ensure that everything has been accounted for, but don’t push anything on them they may not find useful. That said, here are my suggestions.

This is part IV of my ongoing “housekeeper’s kits” series. Part I, Part II and Part III at these links.

1: The bag.

I would say something heavy duty. Compartments aren’t essential as long as everything that stains or smells is well-sealed, which it should be anyway. A plastic tote bag, that has strong handles, can be easily moved from car to car and that you only need to glance into to see what you have, is ideal.

2: The cleaning products.

Cars need to be cleaned. All sorts of spills happen in them, dirt gets trodden in and the usual dust accumulates. So having some cleaning products in the car is useful.

My suggestions:

-sick bags

carpet cleaner

leather cleaner

-window cleaner and sponge

air freshener

-de-icer (lemon and vinegar water is fine)

3: The paintwork.

Paintwork can be chipped or damaged. Previously damaged paintwork or paint on older cars needs attention for possible rust damage and fading.

My suggestions:

car-suitable rust remover

file for paint

straight-to-rust hammerite

straight-to-rust spray paint in the right colour

4: The patching.

All cars start accumulating damage eventually. Everything from chipped mirrors to torn seats. To keep on top of it, keep a patching kit in your car kit.

-needle and tapestry thread

-vaseline

duct tape

WD-40

-super glue

5: The repair.

Sometimes something serious will happen to the car. You will at least need the tools to make it safe again, if not to fix it up yourself where possible.

My suggestions:

-spare wheel, wheel bolt spanner and car jack

allen keys

-gloves for handling electrics

-spare fuses and bulbs

fob batteries and screwdrivers

6: The topups.

These are things your car consumes that you normally top up at the garage or when home. But sometimes they run out in unexpected locations or at inconvenient times. Having an emergency refill can save you.

My suggestions:

-parking money

-fuel jerrycan

-windscreen fluid

-bottle of water

-oil

Keep an eye on your oil and fuel. They can expire after a while in a jerry can or bottle, so make sure they look healthy and from time to time refuel out of your jerry can and refill it, to keep the jerry can fuel fresh.

7: Breakdown safety.

These are things to keep you safe in case of a breakdown or accident on the road.

-two cones

-high-vis jacket

-pocket torch

8: Relevant documents.

You may not always have all your documents with you. But try and keep a photocopy of your driver’s license and tax papers, or at least the relevant reference numbers, somewhere on the car at all times, just in case you need them.

And those are my suggestions for a car kit that will never leave you or your loved ones stranded!

What additions would you suggest? Anything that you really wish you’d had at a certain point? Anything you say in the comments will be added to the kit!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Marriage As A Team.

With the advances of no-fault divorce, women usually being secondary or non-earners, staggered alimony and the assumption of female primary caregiving, it makes sense that a lot of men aren’t really all that interested in marriage. From a purely economic perspective, even if the stats actually show your risk of divorce is well under 50%, there’s still a risk. How many people would put their head into a tame lion’s mouth? It’s still a lion.

However, curiously, women have started to question marriage. At least during the years when we are likely to have a more successful marriage, which is 25-35. Which is odd, considering that we risk very little in marrying and stand to gain so much from either a lifelong marriage or divorce. From a purely objective standpoint, women should at least be ambivalent for men’s sake, at worst be callous supporters. But, as a population, we’re not.

The social demonization of marriage that started in the 60s and 70s is catching up with us. The angry, bitter radicals who called marriage slavery out of one corner of their mouths whilst stalking a man across the globe have finally persuaded most of Western society, men and women alike, that marriage is an evil institution. And they have done so by making it a zero-sum-game.

The basic concept of a zero-sum-game is: someone always wins, someone always loses. In the context of partnerships: one of you will be better off than when you were single and one of you will be worse off than when you were single. And the idea that marriage or long term partnerships are zero-sum-games has infiltrated every corner of our society. Feminists will claim that marriage is anywhere from manipulation to slavery for women, so they must seek to control their relationships carefully. PUAs will claim that marriage and long term relationships are shackles to the minds of men who do not dominate their relationships. Your Joe and Joan Average will work their very hardest to evenly split all their work, incomes, chores and time, so as to guarantee a balance. Everyone is convinced that if you aren’t getting more out than your partner, you’d be better off single.

Which is very scary, considering it undermines one of the main functions of marriage: to grow with each other. The purpose of marriage is to create a mini-community. Which, in our fairly empty, disconnected, callous world, is highly needed as many of us don’t have a larger community anyway. It’s meant to bond two people, get them working in sync so that they both have more than when they started, so they can look after their elders and have and raise healthy, happy children. That was the entire point of marriage.

Therefore, when we try and treat it as a zero-sum-game, as an individual vs individual competition where when you aren’t doing better than them, you’re losing, we aren’t in a marriage. You may have the certificates, but all you’re doing is coexisting, or, worse even, competing.

Instead, when you’re in a long term relationship of any kind, you should be looking at the relationship as the whole and yourselves as the halves. You are not factories, but production units in a little factory. And you should be working on everything you can to keep the factory (your relationship) functional and profitable for both of you. And this becomes quite a cycle. For example, how Jon and I work together to give ourselves a better life:

  1. Jon works full time so he can afford to rent this house. +space
  2. I care for the house so he doesn’t have to. Meaning the house is more worth having and leaving us more together time. +time
  3. I can cook him far better, healthier meals than he could cook himself in the time he used to have, saving us money on snacks and supplements. +money
  4. Because the house is so big, I can use the spare bedroom as an office to tutor from. I can also grow our own food in the garden. +money
  5. Because I work as a private tutor, I can earn £10-25/h, rather than minimum wage of £6.50/h not including travel and expenses. +money
  6. Because I work from home, I work on my own hours. +time
  7. Which means I also can arrange my work day to take advantage of discounts, offers, reduced price foods. +money
  8. Which means his disposable income hasn’t actually dropped much from when he lived in a single room. +money
  9. Which means the need for overtime is reduced. +time

If we both worked full time, split the chores when we got home and only had that little remainder together, we’d have less money, less free time and eventually not be able to afford the space we live in, the quality of food we eat or the entertainment we use. In short, if we acted as individuals, our quality of life would go down. So basically, by working together, as a unit, viewing time together as our main free time, and our assets as shared rather than split, we have both improved our quality of life. He has a larger home, better food, more time with me, more time for leisure activities, more flexibility with work and more money in the bank at the end of the month than when single. I have a larger home, better work prospects, more time with him, more time for leisure activities and more money in the bank at the end of the month than if I were single. We’re in a relationship and by viewing the relationship as the unit and ourselves as component parts: we both win.

So no, long term relationships aren’t a zero-sum-game where there has to be a loser and if you can’t spot the loser, the loser is you. They are a team game where you both work together and use your assets to protect each other’s assets, multiplying the rewards for your work. They are an investment in a partner that, if well -calculated, will pay you back. If you can’t spot the loser, but you’re richer, happier, with more free time and a generally higher standard of life than before: you’re not a loser, you’re playing the game right.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

What is your view on long term relationships? How does your relationship or marriage work? What do you feel your personal investment gives back to you as a couple? Do share!