The Repairman

EJ had to work Saturday, which is only the second time he’s had to work on a weekend at this company. This is totally different from EJ’s company downstate where he had to work seven days a week for months without a break. Poor guy. With EJ at work, I had a very quiet day.

Sunday we worked in the garden a bit, and I put some more herbs in the dehydrator while EJ put new headlights on the suburban. I was considering mowing the lawn, but the grass was still wet from the much-needed rain we got overnight so EJ said no.

Mama Turkey with babies.

Yesterday afternoon EJ walked down the driveway with Hannah and me. EJ’s back was really hurting–it always does–so he walked slower with our cat Josette while Hannah and I walked on ahead. As we rounded the last curve at the bottom of the driveway, I saw the Mama Turkey with her babies. Hannah was investigating interesting smells in the long grass so she didn’t see them. I took a quick photo and then quietly pulled my dog away and we rejoined EJ and Josette up the driveway.

Early this morning the repairman showed up to install the new compressor for our geo-thermal heating/cooling system. When Hannah noticed the repairman, she went ballistic. She’s quite protective and always sounds very fierce as she barks and growls. I actually think she’d be ok with strangers if they took time to greet her, but not everyone likes dogs and I don’t want to risk there being a problem. I shut Hannah up in the master bedroom at first. After she had gotten used to the idea that there was a stranger here, I let her out. She barked whenever she saw the repairman, and then she’d come up to me with a very anxious look on her face. I told her it was ok for the guy to be here.

The new compressor

EJ doesn’t take the day off to deal with repairmen, propane delivery guys, septic tank people, installers, etc., which means I’m usually the one who has to deal with them. The few times EJ is here he always chats with the people and then later tells me interesting stories that they told him about their lives or the community. I never know if I’m supposed to chat with the people or not, or what I am supposed to say if I do chat with them, so I usually just greet them and let them go do their job. I’m an introvert, I don’t do well with chitchat with strangers.

I live in fear that repairmen, etc.,  will ask me questions, which they usually do, and I feel like a blooming idiot when I don’t know the answers to questions like “Where is your breaker box?” Uh…..I did actually remember where it was today, after initially telling the guy I had no idea. I don’t usually mess with the breaker box–EJ does–so I tend to forget where it is. When he asked me if I knew exactly what was wrong with the compressor, I said no–that my husband probably knew. I was thinking, “Duh, it doesn’t work. That’s why it’s getting replaced” but I didn’t say that.

Because I dislike dealing with repair people, and I dread them asking me questions that I might not know the answers to, I feel very uncertain and my mind freezes so I forget answers to questions that I actually do know. I think I sound really ditzy and stupid, even though I am definitely NOT. It’s as if, just like magic, I become what I’m afraid I’ll be. Just for the record, when I’m dealing with people, situations, or topics that I’m comfortable with, I can sound quite intelligent. Ugh.

The repairman worked several hours, replacing the compressor, doing something in the crawl space, doing something else with the breaker box, and got everything hooked up and working. We now have air conditioning and we propane will only be our backup system to heat our house in colder weather! Yay! The repairman turned on the air conditioning before he left, but when he drove away, I turned it back off. It’s not oppressively hot today and I figure why run it when I don’t need to. I’m grateful for the air conditioning on oppressively hot days when I’m in danger of melting, but otherwise I prefer the fresh breeze flowing through the windows and the sound of birds singing. Air conditioning makes the house feel closed up and stuffy.

I’m so glad when repairmen drive away. I always breathe a sigh of relief!

Both Hannah and I survived today’s repairman. In a few weeks we will have to endure the flooring installers. They will actually be in the house working. That will be a fun day. Ugh. I’m thinking we will have to shut the cats in the pantry so they don’t get out of the house, and we will shut Hannah in the entrance hallway where she can growl threats at the workers.

While the repairman was working on the compressor, I went to the garden in the back yard and picked a bowl of green beans. I brought the beans into the house and washed them and snapped them into pieces, but I didn’t blanch them until the repairman had left because I didn’t want to risk being interrupted at a crucial moment–when I have to take the beans from the boiling water into ice water to stop their cooking.

We have a sunflower blooming among the morning glories along the deck. A few more sunflowers are almost ready to bloom. I hope the deer don’t eat them because they are such a bright spot of cheerfulness. The morning glories had already closed by the time I got out to take a photo. I was tempted to wait until tomorrow morning to photo the sunflowers and morning glories both blooming, but I figured that I better capture the sunflowers while they are still there. The deer have eaten some of them even before they budded. The deer have also eaten most of the lilies lining the driveway. There are only a couple still blooming among the now-empty stems. I think it’s funny that the deer eat all the lilies, and I don’t mind that they do, but I would kind of like them to leave the sunflowers alone.

A beautiful sunflower
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12 Comments on “The Repairman

  1. It seems hard to believe you are an introvert when you express yourself so wonderfully here in your blog posts. I loved those wild turkeys – I’ve never seen any wild turkeys, let alone with their babies.

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    • I feel so fortunate to see the wild turkeys. I look forward every Spring to them appearing with their babies. In the Winter, flocks of 30, 40, 50 often come up close to the house to eat the seed that falls from the birdfeeders.

      Introverts often express themselves better in writing than in speaking. 🙂

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      • I hope to see one some day TJ … maybe now that I’m going out to Lake Erie Metropark where is is a larger tract of wooded area and more places for them to raise their families.

        Well, I learned something because you seem very comfortable to me and not shy. I used to be very shy and what helped me was working at the diner all through college. I met many nice people that came in – it was all Southerners, the people who worked there as well as customers who were mostly from the South and liked to come in and talk about “back home” … so it brought me out of my shell and I always said it was the best thing that could have happened to me by working there.

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      • The difference between introverts and extroverts is very interesting to me. Introverts are not necessarily “shy.” (I can be quite talkative when I’m comfortable, but grow silent when I’m not.) Introverts are actually wired differently than extroverts.

        An article (link below) explained that there are two powerful chemicals found in our brains — dopamine and acetylcholine, “jolt juices” that hugely impact our behavior. Extroverts are less sensitive to dopamine, so they need more of it to feel happy. The more they talk, move, and seek new faces, the more they feel dopamine’s pleasant effects. But introverts are sensitive to dopamine, so too much of it makes them feel overstimulated and anxious, writes Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. However, when introverts read, concentrate, or use our minds in any way, we feel good because our brains release acetylcholine. Extroverts, on the other hand, hardly register acetylcholine’s gentle happiness bump.

        https://introvertdear.com/news/introverts-and-extroverts-brains-really-are-different-according-to-science/

        Another article (link below) explained that the prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain that is linked to abstract thought and decision-making. A study by Randy Buckner of Harvard University discovered that introverts tended to have larger, thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex while extroverts had less gray matter. From this evidence, Buckner concluded that this might explain why introverts ponder things thoroughly before making a decision, while extroverts are able to live in the moment and take risks without fully thinking everything through.

        The same article explained that Cerebral blood flow is an indicator of brain activity. Debra Johnson, Ph.D., and John S. Wiebe, Ph.D., used positron emission tomography (PET) to measure cerebral blood flow in individuals rated on a personality test as quiet or gregarious. The images the researchers obtained showed a difference between the quiet and outgoing participants. Introverts showed increased blood flow in the frontal lobes, the anterior thalamus and other structures associated with making plans and problem-solving. Extroverts, however, displayed more activity in the posterior thalamus and posterior insula, which are regions of the brain associated with interpreting sensory data. From these results, researchers concluded that introverts are more inward focused while more gregarious individuals crave external sensory stimulation.

        https://www.learning-mind.com/introverted-brain-different-extroverted/

        What that means is that Extroverts tend to need outward stimulation, people, external rewards to energize them. Introverts don’t dislike people, but we are quickly drained by them and we need quiet and peace to recharge. We live inwardly more–in our minds–and we tend to express ourselves through writing and other artistic expression. We don’t enjoying doing things as a group, we enjoy one-on-one interactions. We know how to have “fun” but our fun tends to be different than that of extroverts. Extroverts find fun in going out with friends and action and think quiet pursuits are boring. Introverts are quickly drained by large groups of people and noise, etc., but enjoy quiet evenings at home or walks in nature.

        I’ve often said that God didn’t create everyone the same. It would be boring if everyone was the same. I love differences. I think the world needs both extroverts and introverts, doers and thinkers, logic and creativity.

        Isn’t that interesting?

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      • I read everything you sent me TJ and yes … it is very interesting. Now I understand why a friend of mine has sent me several stories on being an introvert. My high school friend, Carol, lives in rural NY (Honeoye Falls). She is married, but her husband was laid off about 10 years ago. He is an engineer. He found work, but in North Carolina and he has lived there almost 10 years, and she only sees him when he gets two weeks’ vacation ( a week at 4th of July when it is plant shutdown and a week between Christmas and New Year’s, also plant shutdown). So, they have this big house and the neighborhood is nice, but houses are far apart from neighbors. She has never spoken to any of them. She has her three cats, and tends to feral cats and that’s it. No friends there. Very similar to my situation, only I’m not married, never have been, but I live here by myself and have no family at all, and all my friends live out of state or far from me. So, she was alone all the time. Her mom was alive until 2012 when she had a sudden stroke and passed away. Her mom lived here in LIncoln Park, like me. Her developmentally disabled sister, Mary, lived with the mom. She is in her 50s but a low IQ and many medical issues. Carol is her guardian, so suddenly Carol, who described herself as an introvert, has to deal with Mary Beth’s many issues – special school, many doctor’s appointments, her frequent temper tantrums and stating she wants to live on her own since Carol makes her help in the house (the mother did not). So Carol posts incessantly on Facebook, I mean really incessantly about everything she eats, the cats eat, Mary Beth eats – it is over the top. And in between ranting about Donald Trump and politics in general, she is sending out medical stories and tagging people and saying “this is for you” … so I wondered why she thought I was an introvert?

        After reading your articles, I guess I am as well. I like doing creative things, love writing the blog posts, and most of all I am a homebody. But I have always been a homebody, even when I worked on site – I have not been on site since 2009. I have not seen my boss since the Fall of 2012. I like it like that. I like to go to the Park and enjoy the beauty of nature, and sometimes when people want to walk or talk to me, I wish they would not – just because I value that “me time” in that venue. But, I like to chit chat too and don’t have a problem striking up a conversation. I think I’m a “hybrid” because I enjoy my own company, and like being alone. I am forcing myself to do a few more things by writing this blog, because otherwise I would just go to the Park, walk, come home – I think that over the years many people have disappointed me – their actions, or what they have said, so I just tune a lot out anymore. I’m not aloof to anyone, but I just have a different mindset than I had when I was younger.

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      • There are different types of Introverts and some can be quite social…but they need to come home to recharge. I can be chatty when I am comfortable with them, and speak about things publicly if I am passionate about the subject, but if I don’t feel comfortable or don’t have similar interests than I am quiet. I don’t feel knowledgeable about repairs so I dislike dealing with repairmen. LOL.

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      • I usually don’t anything about a repair either … I have to put my trust in the handyman. My mom and I had a handyman for years … decades, and after my mom died in 2010, Bill had a real attitude. I don’t know why this happened because he always deferred to my mom and not to me, as she was the head of the household. OK, I get that and nothing wrong with that, however, once my mom was on Social Security, we split everything down the middle, so essentially half of whatever $ he got came from me. After my mom passed away, Bill became argumentative, raised the prices for everything and started calling me on the phone or arriving at the house at all hours, banging on the door pleading with me to borrow money. He had an old car and said he needed the money to repair his car. My next-door neighbor and good friend, was a widow and used Bill’s handyman services as well. She (my neighbor Marge) liked to go to the casino with her friends from work – they went once a week and saw Bill at the casino in Detroit all the time. She never let on she saw him. She took a set amount of money, played the slots and that was it. But he played at the tables – I know nothing of casinos and she used to ask if I wanted to go and I was not interested. But we suspect that he lost money gambling. Anyway, he became so problematic, I had to get a new handyman – it took me three years to find the guy I have. He is a big guy so can handle any jobs, is very polite, a hard workers, bonded/insured, but horribly expensive. I had him here a few weeks ago and to do some tarring on one side of the house, repaired the chimney flashing, did some cement patching, cleaned the gutters and put in a new door lock … $597.00! I was horrified that it was so much – Bill was much cheaper – gutters $150.00 three times a year … my new guy wants $140.00 for one time. My house is very small – but I don’t like to climb ladders so I would never do the gutters myself.

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      • Wow. He probably was desperate for money because of gambling. I’m glad you got a different guy, although he really is awfully expensive!

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      • I am glad I found Jim too TJ. Got him through Angie’s List and he had a good rating, but yes, he is awfully expensive, but a hard worker … but still. Bill was such a disappointment … everything was very cheap with Bill, however, he only wanted to be paid in cash, and I never got a receipt, so he likely never declared anything on taxes. Jim will take a check and gives an itemized receipt which I don’t need for anything, but he told me he has anaccountant and does declare all income (I told him about Bill). I have no family members or anyone I could ask to do something small, so at Jim’s mercy. I won’t ask the neighbor next door for anything after what happened … three years in a row I shoveled my snow and his (his mom was still alive and their property was at least 2 1/2 – 3 times bigger than mine) and he cut my lawn, whipped/edged all growing season. I shoveled all that snow last year (and his mom died last August) … I should have known he would not follow thru, but he cut the lawn twice (one time in April; one time in May) then announced in June he was too busy to do it anymore. He’s cut his own lawn maybe once a month since then. The house looks horrible. I might have asked him for help on something small that I couldn’t do – I want nothing to do with him now.

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      • Amazing how he wanted until it was HIS turn to tell you that he wasn’t going to do it anymore…after you had spent the winter doing your part. If he had really had been “honorable,” he would have told you he didn’t want to continue at the END of summer, AFTER he had helped you.

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      • I agree with you TJ … I was so angry and he would have never pulled that with Marge still around. Marge was our neighbor and friend for 25 years until she passed away last August from COPD. He and his wife separated about 10 years ago and he moved in with his mother. She would not have permitted that to happen. I started shoveling when he had some issue with his gallbladder and couldn’t shovel as it hurt. I worried about Marge because she often took herself to the hospital when she couldn’t breathe – she was hospitalized aobut 8 or more times a year, plus even though she was on oxygen 100% if the time the last few years, she often had to go to the doctor’s office for breathing treatments. She also used Bill for handyman work, but after Jeff moved in, she told Jeff he could do it and not use Bill anymore. She didn’t like what Bill did to me either. So, I shovelled to ensure Marge could get out. I was so angry at him and I had to hire a lawn cutting service to cut my lawn as he waited too long and I could not use the push mower or electric mower – it was halfway to my knees! I am loading pics from my walk today – went to a petting farm and saw the cutest duck and thought of you. I took a lot of pics some to be used another time (went to a botanical gardens) … I hope I am not here until midnight writing this post.

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      • The subject of extroverts and introverts is a subject that I am very interested in and passionate about, so I’d like to talk about it a little bit more, if you don’t mind. I kind of get into this lecture mode about it now and then. Sorry. As I said, it interests me. I like psychology.

        There are some countries in the world (such as, I think, Norway, Finland, etc) who greatly value the qualities of introverts. However, the USA values the qualities of extroverts and tends to view introverts as “broken” and needing “fixing.” (If you look at job listings, they all say they are looking for energetic, outgoing people–extroverts.) Probably every Introvert has stories of being told they are boring, too quiet, we think too much, we don’t know how to have fun, and we are dragged to social events filled with people and noise. Many of us grow up thinking there is something wrong with us. Only in recent years has there been articles and websites recognizing the unique differences and gifts of introverts.

        I had a friend downstate who is an extrovert. (We both eventually moved away and lost touch 😥 .) She is very gracious and great at leading groups of people. She can keep the discussions moving, motivate people, etc. I prefer one-on-one encounters and behind-the-scenes work. When my friend and I were together, just me and her, I actually took a “leadership” role and helped us delve into deep topics of conversations–about God, life, struggles, hopes. My friend once told me that she felt that I had the gift of connection–of connecting on deep levels with people one-on-one.

        When I began studying Hebrew, I shared what I was learning with my friend, and we decided to try to celebrate the Biblical fall feasts (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles, etc). We knew nothing about them, and we didn’t personally know anyone who celebrated them. I spent weeks and weeks researching the feasts–how they were celebrated, and what foods were traditionally eaten, etc. I wrote a “program” of what everyone was to do and say, and I put together the menu. My friend, who is an awesome cook and creative and gracious host, prepared the foods and hosted the dinners. We had invited another couple to celebrate with us, and afterwards the woman said, “Wow, JG did all the work!”

        My friend and I were both appalled because the woman had been quite rude–and very inaccurate. My friend and I knew our feasts was totally a joint effort. Later my friend said to me that she felt she had had the easiest part because she loves cooking and hosting dinners. “You did most of the work,” she said. “It only took me a day to prepare the food and you spent weeks researching. I would have hated to do all that research. Without you, this wouldn’t have happened.” I told her that I loved doing the research, and I never could have done the feasts without her doing what she did best–the cooking and hosting. She brought my research to life.

        My friend and I pulled together something special because we both used our strengths and valued the other’s effort. Sometimes I think people expect everyone to be like they are, rather than value the strengths of people who are different than they are. I love differences in people.

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