Would the electrician take me seriously if I called at 10:05 asking where he was? Would I come off as a high maintenance idiot DIYer that they later make fun of? Did he have a car wreck? What if I sent him to his death by calling about my precious kitchen project? Did I even really talk to someone this morning? [side note: yes, I did actually talk to someone. My cell phone, unlike me, was conscious and had saved the number in the recently received phone calls.] Did we say 10? Is it normal for people to be late? I mean the tree people haven’t called back and it’s been two weeks.
10:10 Yep, he’s late. I SO remember saying 10am. Should I call with feigned indifference? Should I be pissed? What if I call and come off pissed and they give me a crappy estimate because they don’t like me?
10:15. I’ll do what I always do when I have to interact with people – I’ll call Kris first. Kris assures me that I should call and if he doesn’t show up by 11 I should call back and say I have to go to work. Finally, specific etiquette instructions. I’ll call.
I got the answering machine. They’re too busy to answer the phone. Is my job too small for them? What if they only work on big projects? No, their ad says residential. I’ll just leave an angry message. [side note: I suck at angry messages. In fact, I can be enraged and no one will know I even perceived a slight. My message winds up sounding something like this: “Oh, hi. Yeah, this is Jarek Steele. I was under the impression we had an appointment for an estimate, but I could have misunderstood, or maybe you’re just running late. So, give me a call back here if you get a chance.”]
10:23, I’m in the kitchen duct taping bare wires to the cabinet above the stove (I might have gotten impatient and removed the hood) when Thomas – I’ll call him Tom- shows up. He makes no mention of being late, so I assume he hasn’t gotten my message and while he’s introducing himself I silently ponder whether or not one can recall a phone message. No. Probably not.
I shake his hand with the firm grip I’ve learned to use to mask the fact that I’m a giant puddle of anxiety at all times and we get to work.
Our stove has been plugged into an EXTENSION CORD the entire 10 years we’ve been here. It stretches through a hole in our floor and plugs in somewhere down in our basement. I couldn’t exactly see where, because the lights in our basement suck.
He can move some outlets, rewire the one where we want a refrigerator and put an actual outlet by our stove, no problem. He talks me through how he can go through the weird soffit that runs into the back door with the wiring for new lights. By the time he’s talking me through the procedure for mounting our over the range microwave (that we don’t actually have yet) I’m crossing my arms and nodding in that, “Well, we’re gonna hafta rip ‘er out & shoot ‘er on in there” kind of way that suggests I know what he’s talking about. He pretends he doesn’t see my eyes glazing over. He says he’ll give me an estimate by Saturday.
I’m already worrying about the message I’ll have to leave when I don’t have an email by Saturday afternoon.