I need to fireplace our scary handyman

LOVE AMY: For several years now, my husband and I (seniors) have allowed a craftsman to carry out repairs on our home and business.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune)

Last week he told my husband that his sister had the coronavirus. My husband and I both told him not to complete the garage project he started in our house.

He became outraged and insisted that he wasn’t the one who had the virus and that he had not been in contact with his sister except for a job he allegedly did outside of her home “a few weeks ago”.

We insisted that he not come to our home for the time being.

Well, he came anyway and was especially angry with me when he realized that I was the biggest contributor to his loss of a few dollars a day to our garage project.

He blurted out to me several times: “I’m done with you” and left. I threatened to call the police if he came back unsolicited.

A week later he called my husband and they exchanged courtesies. My husband said he had “sent me his regards”.

Amy, my husband is a pushover and will just carry on like nothing happened.

As I forgive this handyman, he has to learn a lesson that not only can he scold us, put us in danger and, a week later, pretend everything is fine and get back to work at home.

I never want to hire him again, but I know it will take my husband on his side because he’s a softie.

What would you do? Please advise.

I stand on my floor

Dear standing person: You didn’t allow this man to make repairs. You hired him to work at your home. There is a difference. You two are doing each other a disservice – there is currency exchange for the service, and reasonable expectations and behaviors on both sides are designed to balance this relationship.

Forget about trying to teach him a lesson. This is not your job. He threatened you to the point where you felt the need to tell him you were going to call the police. If he sees you (and not your husband) as “the problem” here, so be it.

He should be paid for the work he has done so far, and you and your husband should find someone to complete the project.

If he wants to keep you as a customer, he should admit that his behavior was inconsistent and specifically apologize to you for having directed most of his anger towards you.

Granted, we’re all a little tense right now, but you and your pushover husband deserve that respect and approval from a professional.

LOVE AMY: My husband didn’t smoke when we got married. He now smokes one to two packs a day.

He smokes in “his” room. I ask him if he smokes that he at least go out on the porch. He makes a big deal and says, “Why can’t I smoke a cigarette in my own house?”

I hate the smoke everywhere – in the house, in the car and on our clothes! If I get up in the morning and open my bedroom door, that’s all I can smell and then I feel sick!

My son (who quit smoking last year) said when he is around me I smell like an ashtray! Help! Both my husband and I have some health problems.

I’ve talked to him about it many times!

What do you or your readers suggest?


LOVE COMPLETED: Your husband’s smoking created a significant health risk for both of you. You have “spoken to him several times”. Instead of talking, insist every day that he doesn’t smoke around the house. You should make your husband too uncomfortable smoking inside and basically annoy him enough to send him out on the porch.

Your son (the ex-smoker) should help you with this.

Your husband has the opportunity to enjoy his deadly habit – he can smoke outside. If he continues to smoke inside, your exposure to used toxins can seriously limit your options.

LOVE AMY: You pinned it down in the last paragraph of your “Don’t try to be a B” answer. One CEO I worked for used to say, “If you don’t transgress your authority, you’re not doing your job.”

Was there

Better to have been there: “B” openly demonstrated her creativity and ambition. I told her that some CEOs appreciate this – because it reminds them of themselves.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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