Degradation and Intimidation

Shortly after Ryan arrived, a termite specialist named Garrett came to give me an estimate on installing a termite control system that I have heard is important here in Texas. Heck, in Scottsdale, all I had to worry about were scorpions and rattlesnakes, my comfort zone. Termites in Texas?!? Eeeeew!

We just moved into a new house and there have been a lot of service people coming and going working on various things. Ryan is an AV/electronics guy and was working quietly in the house for hours. He is smart, gregarious and adorable, probably 28 or 29 years old. He was working in the great room, which is the main room in the house and was privy to my conversations with at least two other service people that day.

I’ve owned a lot of houses in my life. Houses I’ve lived in and houses I’ve rented out and I have a lot of experience dealing with these service guys. I am good at it now but only because I’ve attended the school of very hard knocks for so many years. The first thing Garrett did was pull out a color brochure with diagrams and schematics of all the insidious and horrible things termites can do.

“I don’t want to see that,” I said.

“Uh, what? You don’t?” he said.

“No, I don’t.” I said. “It feels like you are trying to scare me. If a house can be built, anything that goes wrong with it can be fixed and I’m not scared.

Garrett put the menacing brochure away, pulled out another one and began telling me my choices of how to control termites in Texas. It came down to either pumping a “liquid” (which was colored green on the brochure) in gallons under my grass, plants and flowers around the house OR installing “bait houses” around the property.

“What’s in the green liquid?” I asked.

“It’s a non-toxic fluid that the termites cannot get through or survive…”

“It’s a poisonous pesticide then and I don’t want it around my family.” I asserted.

“Well, I wouldn’t call it that. We use it at nursery schools and hospitals and my company has paid for studies so we know it’s safe,” he said rather sheepishly.

“Okay, Garrett, your company paid for the studies and if I had more time I would ask you which nursery schools and hospitals you use that for and I would avoid them like the plague. Pesticides are not an option at my house, in my food or in my garden. Please tell me about that bait choice.”

Long story short, the bait thing is a little less lethal although not pleasant if you are a termite (It stunts their growth so they never come to maturity and can never lay eggs) and after I talk to several neighbors to find out if this is something truly necessary I’ll figure out what I want to do.

Shortly after Garrett left, an air conditioning repairman came. He started by trying to alarm me with dire and disastrous predictions about my units and before even diagnosing the current problem was trying to sell me a pre-paid maintenance program that I know I don’t need. Little did he yet know he had met his match.

“I am not scared.” I said which of course disarmed him. “I’m not scared of air conditioners finally blowing out or anything else about a house blowing out! That’s what things in houses do when their life is over. That’s what we do when our lives are over. I just need to know what is needed right at this moment for this unit to be working correctly.” His face went pale but then he quickly, without drama fixed what needed to be fixed and high tailed it out of my house. Yay!

When he left I closed the door a little harder than I had to and locked it when Ryan bounded over in his youthful enthusiasm with a smile on his face said, “I have to find a woman like you!”

I was completely taken aback. First because I had forgotten he was even in the house and second because I was shocked he said that. It would have made way more sense to me if he had said I have to avoid women like you.

“You can’t have a woman like me.” I blurted back to Ryan.

“What? Why not?” he asked perturbed.

“Because you are too young.” I said. “A woman my age has likely been sabotaged, screwed over, dumped, deceived, betrayed, cheated, ripped off, undermined, manipulated, swindled, stabbed in the back, degraded, mislead, intimidated and humiliated and has finally learned to assert her boundaries on what she is and isn’t willing to tolerate in terms of how she is treated and that takes years. Ninety seven percent of the women your age simply have not been around long enough to experience all that and come out the other end.

“Well then,” he said with twinkle in his eye, “I’m just going to have to find someone older.”

“Well,” I laughed, “she’s going to have to be quite a bit older and I’m married.”

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19 thoughts on “Degradation and Intimidation

  1. Good for you. Mechanics are really bad for this kind of thing as well. One of the reasons I stopped driving was because a mechanic could tell me almost anything I just never learned enough about cars to know what was real and what was bullshit. Your husband must be very proud and grateful to have a wife like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura m

    You’re amazing Andy. If you weren’t so busy with your magnificent gorillas I’d say you need to teach a class called Being present, Trusting your gut instincts And Constructively communicating your boundaries!

    Liked by 1 person

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