The boiler man is coming…

IMAG0497…and anxiety is never far behind.

I truly hate dealing with work men, it makes me jittery and they have to….well they have to come into my little safe space, my home.

I arranged it a couple of weeks back, the annual service on my boiler to make sure it’s not going to go kaput on me something that does make me worry. They only make ‘day’ appointments so the engineer can turn up any time between 8am and 6pm. Nice huh? having to hang around all day waiting for someone to infiltrate my sanctuary. But I have built myself up to it…I made it so there was a clear space up the stairs and into the spare room where the boiler is…it might have been cluttered but it wasn’t bad and that (in my head at least) was ok because he wouldn’t see the rest of the house.

I finally got the call to say he was on his way, he would be here in half an hour or so, when I was out walking Toby (typical I leave the house for the first time that day and I get the phone call). He did not sound like a cheerful man, his voice was dull, monotone, no inflections and no joy.


Even speaking to him on the phone started the anxiety.

I got home with Toby, shut the baby gate in the hall to keep him away from the front door, shut my bedroom door, opened the spare room door, did a last minute pick up of stuff lying around and cursed myself for not vacuuming the stair carpet.

He knocked, Toby barked, I walked through and opened the door to find him standing well back from the door. After the traditional cursory I’m here to fix your boiler (at any other time I would have to insert dirty joke here) he came in, up the stairs and into the spare room starting to ask some of the questions that usually come with a boiler service, all good so far!

He’s very quiet, gets on with the job at hand and doesn’t really speak so I keep dotting off to check on Toby and sneak a cigarette out the back door (something I only really do when there is someone else in my house that doesn’t smoke).

I’m polite, I offer him a drink, bring it up and he does a little bit more to the boiler.

Then he asks about the radiators, I tell him there are no problems with them and he asks if we can turn them up full

Me: ‘OK I’ll go and do it’

Him: ‘Would you mind if I come with you and check on them?’

Me: (I can’t speak I stand there feeling my body go into shock, the chills pass down my arms and I stop breathing) I…I guess….if you have to, I warn you that the place is a mess *nervous giggle*

Him: Only if you don’t mind…..(he takes one look at my face)….you know what it’s ok, if you can turn them up full for me that’s fine.

Me: Thank you, I’ll go and turn them all up

I’m disgusted with myself, the house is so much of a mess I can’t even bare to let him go in to turn up a radiator. I can’t even let someone who does this for a living and wouldn’t even notice the mess come with me to check them.

He goes back to concentrating on the boiler and I fall back on the old faithful of ‘What’s that for?’ and while he answers he actually seems to smile a little and his voice changes to a more friendly tone, I relax a little again.

Him: Right the boiler seems fine, do you have any other gas appliances?

Me: yes a cooker oh and a gas fire (I know what’s coming next)

Him: Do you mind if I check them aswell?

Me: I guess not, are you OK with dogs? (shit shit shit shit shit)

Him: Erm not really I’m pretty scared of them to be honest (with his head down and shoulders hunched looking at his gadgets)

Me: Oh! OK, this could be interesting, let me just figure out where I can put him.

As I walk down the stairs there are a thousand thoughts running through it about how I can tidy up the mess that is my house in the time it will take for him to come downstairs and find somewhere to put Toby. OK if I put him in the front room he won’t like it but it wont be for long and it’ll kill two birds with one stone because that room is one of the worst.

As he comes downstairs I’m looking around wide eyed trying to make it all go away just by thinking of it, trying to think of a way not to have him see or be in those rooms. We go into the living room which by now is a tip again after my cleaning spree a couple of weeks ago.

I apologise for the washing and clothes everywhere and he stands in the doorway asking me to turn on the heater….we leave it running while we go into the kitchen.

I’m so ashamed, there are baking trays, plates, mugs everywhere and he has to come in to look at the cooker.

I apologise again as he asks me to turn on all the hobs and the cooker. With a simple ‘That’s fine’ for both the cooker and the heater we go back upstairs and he explains that he has some paper work to fill out. I leave him to it for a couple of minutes and come back downstairs to let Toby out of the front room and to calm down a little again.

When I go back up he is sniffing so much he obviously needs a tissue and I use it as an excuse to leave the room and go and get a box of tissues. He hands over the papers for me to sign asking me if there was anything else I needed help with and whether I was happy with the service, time to sign something else to say that it was all ok.

He hands me back the glass with a very thankful look on his face.

Him: thank you so much for the drink, I’m very grateful.

Me: Oh that’s ok I was trained well by my mother, always offer a workman a drink

Him: *sniffle sniffle*

Me: And help yourself to a tissue as well that’s what I brought them through for, you sound like you need one

Him: (looking surprised) Thank you so much, you’re very kind Miss C

Me: Don’t mention it I had something like that last week and know how horrible it is.

He takes a tissue with a smile on his face then finishes putting the boiler back together.

I walk him back out of the house and as he leaves he thanks me again, I thank him, I shut the door and breathe a sigh of relief opening the baby gate and getting a cuddle from Toby.

I’ve been sat on the sofa for nearly an hour trying to calm down since then with no luck. The muscles in my neck are so tense and have been for a few hours, that I have a headache.

Why is something so simple so hard!! Why can’t having my boiler serviced or any other things like that be…well easy? Why can’t I clean my house and keep it clean? Why shouldn’t I be able to deal with a situation like this without ending up in a panicking heap trying my best not to let people see?

I feel stupid even feeling the need to write this post, feeling the need to vent about something that shouldn’t have phased me in the slightest! But now I’m jumpy as a frog on a hot plate and I can’t think of any other way to calm myself down.

There’s a Carry On film on the telly and I think a cup of tea might be in order, that is if I can steady my nerve to move off the sofa.





18 thoughts on “The boiler man is coming…

  1. Mummy hates people coming to the house when she hasn’t cleaned (which is most of the time lol). So she knows exactly how you feel!
    But objectively it’s your house and you can keep it as clean or messy as you want. Plus you never have to see the boiler man again. He must see lots of messy houses, and if he remembers you for anything, it’s more likely to be for the tissue or the drink rather than the state of your house xxxx

    1. Thank you for that! I’m trying to think like that, trying to be mindful about that nasty little voice but it really helps to hear it from someone else too 🙂 xox

  2. Sounds like you did very well!! Bravo you didn’t freak out. First breath, relax these things take time especially when in ones own home. Sacred space. It’s your holiday so draw a hot bath make a nice cup of tea het a good book cuddle with the pup and treat yourself to something you find fun. You took a great step today!!

    1. I think it’s worse because it doesn’t happen very often so it’s hard for me to get used to it. I’m better than I was but things like this still make me struggle. I’ll try and be nice to myself, I will have to clean at some point to make myself feel a little better though.
      Thank you that’s a good plan…in fact I might treat myself to something unhealthy for tea tonight 🙂

  3. You did well to make it through the boiler man visiting. I really dislike service repair people coming to my home too. Although in my case I live with my dad and he’s the clutter bug. If I lived alone I would clean more. That being said, I’m quite use to mess now b/c my mother was a compulsive hoarder and it was only after she died we were able to get rid of some things! Don’t be too hard on yourself though. Like the rest here have said, the boiler man will have seen plenty of homes, some likely in far worse shape! I cringe thinking of how our home looked when mom was alive and her stuff cluttered every surface, nook and space available. Needless to say we didn’t entertain guests often!

    1. If I had the energy I would do, I always swore my house would never be this much of a mess and I think that’s why I’m so ashamed of it. I rarely have people round and with it just being Toby and I…well I don’t feel the need to force myself that often! lol I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates this whole experience, thank you 🙂

      1. I’m feeling the same way. Not enough energy to clean. I know I *should* but can’t quite muster up the motivation to actually do it! Maybe when Spring rolls around I’ll be ready to clean. LOL, my ANNUAL cleaning! hahaha Just joking. I’m sure I clean at least once a season! 😉 ;P

      2. My mind is willing but my body isn’t and it’s so frustrating! Lol I have a funny feeling I probably clean about once a season too, the kitchen a bit more often though 🙄

      3. LOL, I clean the bathroom the most. The other rooms are likely fully cleaned once a season. I try to pick up and keep things tidy but even that I find hard sometimes! 😛

  4. sweety, I am the exact same way. I can not handle people coming into my little world at all. Penetrating all of my privacy and safety. I handle it a bit better if I have notice, and time to prepare myself for it. I used to worry about what the house looked like, but I have gotten over that quite a bit. I figure if they go into people’s houses every day, they are bound to find one that is worse lol. But with no reason, I get so nervous and tense like you said. It takes the rest of the day to recuperate. Sasha is so excited and overly friendly when someone new is here and I get all tore up about trying to get her to act normal. I just know that the person is hating my dog and I try and explain that she is a good dog most all of the time but she just gets so excited to see company come. It never seems to do anything to change how the visitor feels about the dog.
    Plus, I don’t own this house yet. I rent it until I am here for 15 yrs. So, every so often they come and inspect my house. Talk about anxiety. I run around for days trying to make everything perfect. I get this fear that something won’t be good enough and they will throw me out. The dog really makes it hard at those times. They get on tangets about dogs and how big they are and it all comes from whether they like your dog or not. I have dealt with this for years and years.
    I am just trying to tell you, I know so well what you are feeling. I am sorry that you have to deal with it as well. But, at least he is gone and you did so well making him feel welcome. Now your home is all yours again 😉

    1. I’m sorry to hear you go through the same stress and much more often than I have to put up with it. Aww most dogs get over excited when someone comes into the house, I’m sure they’re used to that just as you say they’re probably used to mess too 🙂
      I’m still tense but hopefully it will ease off before I go to bed.
      Thank you though hun xoxox

  5. I clicked “like” because I think you did really well despite your anxiety. Also, I think he seemed to be a friendly dude, etc.
    I remember a couple of months ago when two workmen came into my apartment to put in new windows (which took 4 hours) and I was a wreck before, during, and after this “event”. I didn’t write a post about it though because I thought it’s way too weird to have such strong reactions to something that’s no deal for most people.
    So I’m really always glad whenever someone writes about these things.
    I once read on someone else’s blog about something similar (after my window stuff) and she explained why it was so horrible to her.
    It’s not only the infiltration of our safe homes but also like a loss of control because we aren’t in charge of what’s going to happen once these guys come in and do their work. She actually equated it with abuse because it evoked similar feelings in her. May sound a bit far fetched but even though I can’t remember her whole argumentation right now, it made perfect sense to me. Anyway.
    I can perfectly understand (like dozens of other people it seems) why it messed you up like this. It’s so frightening to have these strangers in our houses – even though most of them are nice. And I can also relate the the shame of thinking “my house is so messy, etc” but I am pretty sure these guys see stuff like that every day – even stuff that’s probably way beyond our own imagination.
    I think you did really well and I hope you’ve found some peace in the meantime. Hugs. xxx

    1. Thank you Juliet, it really does help to know that it’s not just me, that I’m not completely bonkers to not like having these people in my house and to feel ashamed by the mess. I try to tell myself that they probably see worse than my place on their rounds but that shame is so deeply ingrained….it’s hard not to.
      I’ve been trying to focus on the positives, my boiler has been given the ok, he was nice enough when he actually spoke and was probably a bit twitchy knowing there was a dog in the house. I may not have had the cleanest house but I was polite and kind to him which seemed to go a long way with making up for it, I don’t have to do it again for another year and I have lots more time off left 🙂 ((hugs)) back to you too xoxox

  6. Mel, I think you did pretty good.
    At home I have a room that we call it the lion gate, cuz nobody has the balls to get in and clean it, we put all the mess in there, all the mess we have around and that we remove when people come. Not even the cleaning lady gets in there, she’s not allowed.
    I’ve noticed that the older I get the less I tolerate people over my place, specially those who come unannounced (a very common practice in Spain), the other person is more friendly than I am. It pisses me off.
    I like my little space and hate to have it invaded when I don’t feel like having people around.
    Hope you are more relaxed by now.

    1. Thanks Leo…I keep trying to tell myself I did OK 🙂 I wish I could afford a cleaning lady! I’d have to clean the house before she could start working here mind you 🙄
      I’ve calmed down about the whole thing now I’ve slept, back to it just being Toby and I and all is good 🙂 xox

  7. Gosh my friend, we were both going through the same type of thing at the same time. All your thoughts were exactly like mine, and I do the same thing in closing doors, am anxious for the whole day before the person comes, even anxious on the phone, and then it takes me ages to wind down afterwards, can’t sit still, feel like I need a run then a huge sleep, and berate myself viciously.
    But all your self talk here is right, all he will remember about you is your kindness, and you achieved what you needed to do by getting the service done, so you have taken care of yourself (and Toby) too.
    Hope you got some sleep, and you have a better day tomorrow. ♡

    1. I got some sleep eventually even if it was pretty broken, today should be better I’m meeting up with an old friend for coffee 🙂
      It’s horrible having to feel like this just to get something like a boiler serviced but….I’m trying to be mindful and I hope you can manage it too! Even if we can’t do it at the time, being able to after the fact is a step in the right direction 😉
      Thank you hunny, love to you xoxox

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