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.