I’m Waiting for “The Fix-It Guy” Again

Figuring out how to do things myself can be daunting, disheartening, and dirty. But even worse is waiting for people to come fix the things I can’t do by myself. I’ll bet I have wasted at least a month of my life waiting for the “guy” d’jour. It’s never a woman. A woman might be on the phone setting up the service call, but so far, it has always been a guy who does the actual work.

If he shows up.

The current problem started Wednesday night when I came home from church choir practice. My electric garage door decided it could no longer go down all the way. I pushed the button, walked down the sidewalk, and heard a boom, then watched in amazement as the door rolled itself back up. What? I pushed the button again and watched the door go down to about four feet from the ground and bounce back up. I moved stuff in the garage in case the sensors were detecting something in the way. I did it again. Boom, up. Well, shit.

It was dark in my garage. The fluorescent light is burned out. It’s a long one, I’m thinking eight feet, which is farther than I can reach. I keep imagining glass all over the floor when I drop it. I backed out the car, plugged in an old lamp, dragged the ladder to the center of the garage and disconnected the electric opener. I figured I would close the door manually. But it wouldn’t go all the way down even as I pushed it, scared I would smash these piano-playing hands. I noticed a hanging cable, torn at the bottom. I don’t know how it works, but that was the problem for sure.

I left the door two feet open, certain I’d be greeted by raccoons and other critters in the morning, and adjourned to watch videos and forget my troubles. In the morning, I called the guy and looked for critters. None so far. That I could see. But any human could duck under there and get into my house. There’s no lock on the inner door to the laundry room. The dog would stop them, you say? Ha. She’d welcome them with kisses and tail wags.

First thing Thursday morning, I called the garage door guy. He said he would come about 1:30 p.m. to fix my garage door. Okay, fine. I had a lunch date in Lincoln City, but I dashed home to be here for him. No guy. I waited till 4:00, then called him. I got his voicemail. I left a message. He did not call back. Well, he’ll be here first thing Friday morning, I thought. The perpetual optimist. About 10:30 Friday, I left another message. At 2:00, I forwarded my landline calls to my cell phone and took the dog for a walk, hoping he’d be here when we got back. Just in case, we wouldn’t go too far.

No sign of him.

Four calls later, plus a Saturday call to another garage door guy, it is now 11 a.m. on Monday, and I’m still waiting. I have other things to do. I’m hoping publishing this will cause him to magically appear.

On Saturday night, my neighbor managed to forced the door almost to the ground. He may have broken it in the process, which would be unfortunate, but I needed the door to be shut. Of course now nobody can go in or out, but . . .

The fix-it guys do not seem to understand that when a person lives alone and is as anxious as I tend to be, she (or he—my dad was the same way) gets up and dressed early just in case, holds off on going to the bathroom, eating, or getting involved in anything useful. We’re constantly listening. Is that him? No, it’s the heater. Is that him? No, it’s the neighbor going to work. We keep looking out the window. We make the dog nervous with our pacing. We get a stomachache, for Pete’s sake.

Why? Because if he calls or comes to the door when we’re on the toilet, in the shower, walking the dog, or outside for one minute dumping the trash, he might turn around and go away. When you live alone, there is no one else to answer the phone or open the door. No one else to write the check. No one else to say, “This is where we seem to have a problem.”

It’s even worse for people with regular jobs, who have to take time off to wait for “the guy.” Why can’t they give me a time and stick to it—or at least call if the schedule changes? When I arrange to play music or do an interview, I set a time, and that’s when I arrive.

In the past, I have waited for electricians, plumbers, stove repairmen, washing machine repairmen, tree trimmers, stump pullers, fence builders, gutter replacers, ditch diggers, propane tank fillers, telephone repairmen, cable TV installers, and yes, garage door guys. I have a lot more work that needs doing here, but I’m tired of waiting for the guys.

Should I call again?

Fr. Joseph talked about temptation yesterday at Mass. Well, I am tempted to hate this no-show Joe. I’m trying not to. Clearly this is a one-man operation, or there’d be somebody else answering the guy’s phone. Trying to run a business alone isn’t easy. He probably took on more work than he can handle.

Maybe he got hit in the head by somebody’s garage door and is lying unconscious in a hospital. I would feel terrible if that were true. But he probably just ghosted me. That’s a trendy term I have never used before, but I’m starting to see its usefulness.

Meanwhile, do I have time to go to the post office? Let me check outside again.

Readers, how do you deal with waiting for “the guy?” I welcome your stories and comments.

G is for …Gunk!


This A-to-Z post has nothing to do with the dog—unless you count the many times she charged into the bathroom yesterday to lick my friend’s face while he was on the floor with his head under the sink. He tried to fix my pipes but eventually decided we needed a pro. As I write, I am waiting for the truck to arrive.

I searched hard for a G word related to plumbing. Sink, pipes, crescent wrenches, leaks, clogs? Oh, gunk! I’ll explain.
My bathroom sink has been clogged for probably a year or so, draining very slowly. Every now and then I’d pour in half a bottle of Liquid Plumber, the clogs would clear for about a week, and then it would clog up again. Clearly I needed to try something else. One of the tough things about being a widow with no kids and no nearby family is that I don’t know what to do when things go wrong with the house. While the men were learning about tools, pipes, wires and cars, I was learning how to knit, sew, and bake a cake. I’m good with a spatula, but I don’t know what to do with a wrench.
I tried. A couple weeks ago, when the sink no longer drained at all, I got out Sunset’s Basic Plumbing book and followed the directions. I removed the plunger. I got underneath and removed the trap, that loopy piece of plastic right under the sink. When I tilted said trap over a bucket, a big wad of gunk came out. It was made of hair and soap and I don’t know what else, but it had turned into gunk. It made a big plopping sound. Oh, I felt so clever.
Now came the tricky part, putting the trap and the plunger back on. I did it, and the sink drained freely–onto the floor under the sink.  I took it all apart again. When I went to put it back together, I discovered the pipe behind the trap was badly corroded. “Toast,” is what my friend called it.  He tried to take the corroded pipe off, failed, and now I can’t use the sink at all. Blame it all on gunk.
The gunk from the sink, though made of different substances, looks an awful like the gunk I cleaned out of my gutter a few weeks ago. Smells like it too. That gunk is made of weeds, pine needles, and mud. They’re both disgusting. Webster’s defines gunk as “filthy, stinky or greasy” matter. Yes, yes, and yes. I would much rather bake a cake.
G could stand for gutter or green or grass or growling (back to the dog), but today it stands for Gunk. 

I’m participating in this month’s A to Z blogging challenge, and G stands for Gunk. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
A Newsletter–A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage–B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon–C is for Crate
D Writer Aid–D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon–E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon
G Unleashed in Oregon
H Childless by Marriage
I Unleashed in Oregon
J Writer Aid
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Childless by Marriage tomorrow to find out what H stands for.