Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Do I have to pay the $100 an hour guys that come to my house to put in closet shelves if they spend their time shooting the breeze on my dime? Should this not bother me? Am I just cheap? It seems like every time I have to call a handy man in to paint the bedrooms or caulk the shower stall or clean out the gutters, he ends up talking to me about his kids that don’t listen, or the lazy boss at his old job. I’m fine with being an ear to someone who needs one, but must I be the one paying to hear of someone’s woes at two bucks a minute?? Seems like they should be paying me, not me paying them to dump on me.
The last straw was with a closet maker/organizer that came last week. She sat and talked about her divorce and then sent me a bill for 3 hours work when she spent at least half an hour at my kitchen table complaining about her ex not giving her enough money to pay for private school tuition for the kids. I can’t be the only one. Do people just pay this and consider it a “tip?” Am I just a cheap skate?
I’ll Listen, But Not At 2 Bucks a Minute
Dear I’ll Listen,
I guess it’s safe to assume that the “handymen with caulk” in your house aren’t shirtless, otherwise you wouldn’t be complaining. Which is probably your first mistake, hiring clothed handymen, but then again, I suppose not all handymen should go shirtless. (I’m looking at you, Fatballs Larry. Ain’t nobody need to see that crack.)
It’s also probably safe to assume that you have one of those “approachable and friendly” faces that gives workers the signal it’s okay to talk to you. Bad, bad, bad. So very bad.
“In the presence of the hired man, one must always put on their Mega Bitch Face.” That’s a quote from the Dowager Countess. Or maybe it’s a quote from my Dowager Neighbor who’s always nasty to the lawn guys. I’m not sure which because I’m usually tipsy when I watch PBS. (That’s why I have 150 tote bags: drunk dialing during pledge drives.)
Anyway, I know it may sound like I’m kidding about the bitch face thing, but I’m really not. If you don’t engage the handymen in conversation, they won’t talk to you. It’s as simple as that. Even if your entire body is telling you, “Go ask Phil if he has any kids!” you must not ask Phil if he has any kids. Tell him what you need done, then disappear.
If he tries to talk to you, put on headphones or pretend you only speak Portuguese or something. Glue your cell phone to your ear and act like you’re on a conference call. (“What?! No, I told you I need that report ASAP, Jeremy! I’m calling HR!”) Just do whatever you need to do to be antisocial. Sure, he may think you’re sort of a jerk, but who cares when each word that comes out of his mouth costs you cash, right?
And if that doesn’t work, give me a call. I’ve got a hammer, a need for cash and I never talk to anyone if I don’t have to.
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