Tag Archives: House Repairs

Only Child on trust

Only Child and her son Martin -  one of the few people she can trust

Only Child and her son Martin – one of the few people she can trust

Who do you trust? Do you trust anyone? Why and why not?

Over the years I have learned that trust is worse than fleeting. I used to be this naïve person who had trust, even if it was in the form of praying for things to be all right.

Not anymore. I can count on my fingers the people I can trust. As for organizations (religious, utilities, and otherwise – hell no). It used to be I could get up in the morning and feel safe, feel that it would be a good day.

Not anymore. Always I have a hassle and/or problem hanging over from a previous day. And more are always lurking unexpectedly around the corner. This unending list includes the weather, utility problems, house repairs (impending, some done but not done properly – read Nigel Applewaite and the bad job he did four years ago on waterproofing the outside of my house – he didn’t dig deep enough and I shouldn’t have trusted him), health issues, family, computers, finances, etc. – not necessarily in order of importance.

The bottom line is I have learned from my experiences to be wary of who and what I trust. I try not to take anything for granted because you can bet once I do I get screwed somehow, somewhere.

What is the answer?

For me, it is trusting myself, doing and going it alone as much as I can, keeping in mind I can reach out to the under 10 people I can trust.

And oh yeah, dishing out repercussions to the culprits who mess up my life – but picking and choosing which ones and letting others go.

Not letting go will be one of the latest – Bell Canada’s screw-up for the static on my phone. They emailed me about doing a survey on their service about this – the technician hasn’t shown up yet. To add insult to injury the email did not contain a link to the actual survey. But it did contain the name of the customer service VP. She’s getting s*** once a technician has actually been here.

More anon, like maybe next week’s post on Bell Canada – the ding-a-ling company.

 

Tomorrow is Canada Day July 1. Enjoy it – despite yet more rain and possible thunderstorms.

And for my American followers, Happy July 4 coming up this Saturday.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, finances, Health, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Rain, Snafus, Stress, Trust, Weather, Worrying

Only Child on family help and support

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

When Mom’s baby sister, my godmother’s first husband died and she had to raise seven children under nine years in age, my Mom stepped in to help. She couldn’t be physically present 24/7 – she had my Dad and me to look after in Toronto, the house and garden, and her sister lived miles away on the farm near Lucknow, Ontario. But we had Canada Post.

The sisters wrote back and forth a lot and Mom used to show me my godmother’s letters, but not her replies. Instead she made a big fuss out of playing Goodwill to help her little sister, something that people did then.

When the snow piles up in Toronto and stacks up on the farm, boxes of hand-me-downs, mother’s old clothes, my no-longer fitting clothes, and I suspect some store-bought ones find their way from our house to theirs (Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This family help and support appears to be following in my family’s footsteps – albeit from the other way round. And it gave me a reminder that maybe not all is so bad here (excluding basement leaks, sinusitis and the like).

Sunday my son Martin came over for lunch and to help me with computer stuff. He not only helped with the latter, he also fixed and helped with a few other repairs, etc. around the house. No, he didn’t fix the basement water leak. Some of that is humidity and the rest – where it is actual puddles of water getting in – is the fault of the a****** who did the excavation, etc. two years ago.

But some things and worries are out of the way.

Martin figured out how to use my knife sharpener, despite the instructions being in German only. My son is studying French and German and said his German isn’t that good. He sharpened my large garden clippers with the knife sharpener, explaining how it works as he did so. Not that it will stick in my non-mechanical brain.

He also fixed the battery in my wireless phone handset. After having The Source put in the new one last month (I had a three-for-the-price-of-one deal), it slipped out of my hand one day – that’s how bad my nerves were over all the worries – and its tenure in the handset was slightly out of kilter. It connected to the phone’s cradle- if I removed the cover and then I had to place the cover back on when carrying it around.

He changed the battery in the basement smoke detector. I did the main floor one (not completely mechanically-challenged here) but I can’t reach the ceiling one in the basement without standing on a chair. The main floor one is actually on the overhead of the doorway, so that gives me something to grab when I’m standing on a chair. Freefalling from the basement ceiling doesn’t appeal – a side effect from having vertigo.

Martin helped me sort out my accumulation of electronic extra gadgets – from adapters to ?? to various wires and cords, to an old router no longer used to a very old hard drive which I have no clue as to its origin. Most got chucked in the electronic-labelled plastic bag from the City of Toronto. I can place this at the end of my driveway for pickup on garbage day.

And he removed the Styrofoam from and broke down some of my “collection” of cardboard boxes and tied them together so I can put them out at the end of the driveway for collection on recycling day.

Maybe the best was when Martin and I cooked lunch together – he cooked the pasta and sauce (Note: sauce was from a store-bought bottle and pasta was store-bought, but he does have a pasta-maker at home and makes pasta there sometimes) while I made the salad with most of the lettuce coming from the garden. We didn’t sit outside to eat but sat at the kitchen table. We had spent a bit of time sitting outside on the back patio before lunch.

Lesson learned: sometimes family can help – even if family doesn’t consist of a partner or any siblings.

I am grateful to my son for helping me. And yes I told him so – verbally and in an email after he left.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Martin Crawford, Mom and Dad, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child faces more worries and snafus

Only Child and her late dad on the veranda of 139 where Only Child grew up

Only Child and her late dad on the veranda of 139 where she grew up

Last Saturday was wasted dealing with worries and snafus, including a new one – the cable part of the cable TV not working. Late Thursday evening the picture started breaking up on four channels but not on the rest. One program showed fine on the US station but not on the Canadian station doing simultaneous airing. The cable TV tech department booked an appointment for Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m. but put me on a waiting list for anything sooner.

Saturday I had to go out to deal with another house repair/replacement issue, so called the cable company and they sent someone right away. He fixed it but it took him over two hours because he couldn’t find one end of the cable in the basement (I didn’t even know a TV cable was down there as previous cable tech visits had concentrated outside or with the TV in the living room). So this clown decided he would have to drill holes in the inside wall (living room) and the outside brick wall to set up the new cable there. He got the permission form which I signed but he didn’t and got to work. After he drilled four close-together holes in the inside wall, he had another look downstairs and found the other end of the cable. He told me and when I asked about the holes he’d drilled he said he put an electric outlet cover there. He also made a mess with the foam insulation in the basement laundry room but did vacuum upstairs in the living room. I seldom fill out surveys but filled out the automatic one that comes when you phone the call centre – the comments section was where I “blasted” the technician’s work – but I kept it factual and polite (although I threw in the “senior’s card”).

The errand to deal with the other issue – replacing the defunct window air conditioner turned into a customer service mess. I had done some online research but I like to see the air conditioner up front. I had already checked out Home Depot but wanted to see what else was available before buying one. So off to Canadian Tire as they are supposed to carry one brand of vertical window air conditioners. Also there was some indication they do installations.

It was like a civilian version of Keystone cops or Keystone-like service snafus. I talked to four employees (when I found them). The first staffer said “oh we don’t do installations” and gave me the wrong aisle for air conditioners – at least none were there – the ones on sale (not vertical) were at the front and I finally found them with a note for installation to call an 800 number or speak to staff. I was there so staff it was. Canadian Tire’s customer service is both for returns and product information with one clerk handling a long line up of customers with returns. I asked a couple of other staffers who were up at the counter for other things. Both phoned the person responsible for the air conditioning section. No one arrived. Then I nagged another clerk, explained the situation and asked to speak to the manager. He looked for him, returning a couple of times with a progress report. Eighteen minutes later (he counted) he returned and said he hadn’t found the manager, this wasn’t acceptable, gave me his first name and an 800 number to complain about the manager. Of course, you can probably only get someone on weekdays. News flash. I work weekdays, albeit from home and resent any house-related problems I have to dealt with then. But I’ll call sometime this week. Guess where I won’t buy my air conditioner.

A friend said that nothing is perfect in this world. But I know there are too many screw-ups caused by too many people. And if you mess up – at least where it concerns others – you should be held accountable – one way or the other.

I certainly don’t remember my parents having to deal with all this nonsense but maybe that’s my child’s view and remembrance. I do remember for plumbing problems that Ken, a friend of dad’s from his work area (geographically), would come and fix the situation, although Mom, Dad and I had to listen to Ken sing opera. That might be why I’m not a fan of opera. But Ken recommended a carpenter to build our rec room and he did a good job. One shoddy job – after Dad died (he had been the house painter and was so good he is still the benchmark for excellence here), Mom hired a painter who did a so-so job… and spilled paint on the front lawn which killed that spot of lawn. But whenever the TV needed fixing we called in a repairman and he came in and fixed it.

One good thing – the friend mentioned above – removed all three of my old computer and printer equipment (she rolled them up the stairs; I helped her carry out the heaviest one into her van’s trunk). She hauled them away to the recycling depot.

At least the water meter installers/retrofitters can’t complain about space to get to the water meter. They better not.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Family and Friends, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Responsibility, Sharon A. Crawford, Uncategorized, Worrying

Only Child learns (again) seeing is believing

Only Child does another contemplation session on trust versus seeing is believing

When will I ever learn? Last Thursday I had yet another broken promise shoved at me. I phoned the handyman I’ve been hiring for five years to confirm the time for when he was coming on Saturday. He couldn’t make it because he was working at his regular job. (He is an apartment building superintendent). Why didn’t he factor this in when we originally made the appointment? Now we’re fiddling around with maybe this coming Saturday, which is also Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. And besides weather issues (most of the repairs are outside) we now have family (mine) get-togethers to consider.

I should know better by now than to take things for granted, something I thought I learned when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was nine and a half years and my mother lied about what was wrong with him. She told me he had TB. I found out the truth from my best friend, The Bully, at school.

Over the years I’ve stumbled over trust issues and through ups and downs have learned that there is very little you can trust. For some reason I seem to have more trust in my business (writing, editing and teaching writing) than in my personal life. In the latter there are a small number of family members, friends and acquaintances I can trust, some up to a point. Clearly, this handyman isn’t one of them – at least for keeping appointments. The quality of his work is good and so are his prices. Those are two reasons I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding another handyman (or woman for that matter). If I could do the work myself I would. Some jobs I can’t do either because I don’t know how, don’t have the physical strength or have vertigo (if I have to go higher than five feet up, I get dizzy and freeze). The handyman has no qualms about going up to roof level to clean out eavestroughs – I’ve even found him sitting on the roof talking on his cell.

It seems that in many instances where I took for granted and trusted that all would be well, all was definitely not well. (The air conditioner going on the fritz when I was on vacation is one example.) And I do put it out there (God, the universe, whatever you believe in) that I need help with this, I need such and such. Some of it is small stuff and at the end of the day it probably doesn’t matter whether I get what I ask for or not. It’s the big stuff that gets ignored that bothers me. I find I have to shout to be heard. So much for ask and you shall receive. And if that is an ex-Catholic talking, so be it.

What’s the solution? Live each day on its own? I’ve tried that but the immediate future creeps in, especially when I’m dealing with a troubling situation.  For the last few years I’ve stopped planning more than a few months ahead. When someone asks “Where would you like to be in five, ten years?” I want to shout “Why plan that far ahead; I might be dead by then.”

So, I will continue to be watchful, at least, with what is happening. And in most instances business as usual will be “when I see it I will believe it.”

What says you? How do you handle the uncertainty of the future?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Believing, Betrayal, Family and Friends, Life demands, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford