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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Sweet Linda (aka Lovely Linda)

“Sweet?” I said.

“Yes, sweet,” my esthetician Linda answered. “I used to have some impressive stuff about myself on my profile at Match.com but one guy said, I can’t date you; I’m just a regular guy.

“Oh, so that impressive stuff intimidated him.” I said.

“Guess so,” she replied, “So after that I did a some research to find the words that men use to search profiles and the top word was sweet. So now all my profile says is sweet girl looking for a relationship. The hits to my profile tripled!”

“Now that you mention it,” I said, “I remember years ago before the Internet when I was dating, a girlfriend set me up on a blind date and she told me the man asked if I was sweet. So, yeah, even back then sweet was key.”

I’ve been called many nice things in my life but sweet has never been one of them.

“What does that even mean!?” Linda almost shouted

“I know!” I shouted back, “What does sweet mean!? Oh, wait,” I went on, “I know! Sweet means you will go to bed with him!”

We laughed hysterically as she almost gouged my eye with her microdermabrasion wand.

We caught our breath and I wiped away the tears flowing from the aforementioned eye and Linda said, “Oh, that reminds me, I have this friend in her late fifties who is getting divorced. She said to me Linda, all I want is a man to be a companion, someone to have a meal with and to sit down with and talk. Ya know?

“So what I told her,” Linda said, “is that what men want is to go to bed with you, not worry about being your companion, not have a meal with you and not sit down and talk with you! Oh my god, she got so mad at me!!”

We both laughed out loud as I gently grabbed the wrist of her hand holding the wand.

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Lovely Linda

“Okay, this is going to hurt a little,” my new aesthetician said as she ripped hot wax off my upper lip.
“OW!” I cried.
“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” she said pressing hard onto my lip with her sterile gloved fingers.

I just met Linda for the first time today and we hit it off. She is pretty, thin and girly and we laughed a lot. She is also an artist so her little skin care studio is filled with her art in various mediums. She makes intricately detailed greeting cards, beautifully adorned gift-card holders, remarkable heart sculptures, lovely paintings and jewelry.

“It’s awesome that you are an aesthetician and also an artist,” I commented.
“I’m also a handyman,” she blurted out.

Being as feminine as she is, I thought that was a hilarious joke and I laughed out loud.

“I’m not kidding,” she said, “and I’m not talking about changing light bulbs.”
“What?” I said.
“Yeah, my father was a builder and starting at age 3, I was his gofer. By the time I was 8 I knew the names of all the tools and was learning to build, install, repair, do drywall, woodworking and painting. By the time I was 20 I could do just about anything. I installed that sink, garbage disposal, faucet and cabinetry,” she said pointing to a corner in her studio.”
“Are you serious?” I said astounded.
“Yes,” she said, “I can do your micro-derma abrasion, your eyebrow waxing and your drywall repairs!”
“Wow,” I said, “how convenient!”

We continued to chat while she worked on my face. I learned she’s been in Dallas for 20 years, is divorced and doesn’t mind being single. Linda has a little dog whom she adores and sometimes dates through Match.com which happens to be headquartered here.

“You know”, she said, “when you are out of your forties you can’t hope to meet men at bars.” I loved the way she said ‘out of your forties’ instead of ‘into your fifties.’ “Men that age who are at bars are looking for much younger women.” I agreed with her.
“Yeah, I’m meeting one tomorrow,” she said.
“One?” I laughed.
“Yeah, one,” she said, “that’s what I call these Match.com guys until I know more about them. They usually don’t last for more than a couple weeks when their psychosis start to show up. The one tomorrow will be interesting,” she continued, “his profile was so impressive! He’s a card carrying Mensa, he’s very athletic, he’s interested in Eastern Philosophy and other really esoteric stuff and he sounds like a lot of fun. When I read his profile to my friend, Sarah, she said she wanted to date him! But then I showed her his picture.”

Linda went on to describe how the one tomorrow has a beard, which is about 2 inches across at the bottom of his chin and then sticks about 4 inches straight downward. She said it was so weird that he had that beard while everything else seemed so perfect. So, Sarah told Linda that all she has to do is wait until he wants to have sex and say, “Dude, everything is working for me here, but the beard has to go.”

“Well,” Linda said to me, “Maybe I should meet the beard before I start scheming.”

“Yeah,” I said, “go meet the beard first.”
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