I need to hearth our scary handyman
DEAR AMY: For a number of years, my husband and I (senior citizens) have had repairs done around our home and business by a handyman.
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 to delay completing the garage project he had started at our home.
He became outraged, insisting he was not the one who had the virus and that he had had no contact with his sister except for a job he was said to have been doing outside her house “a few weeks ago”.
We insisted that he not come to our house for the time being.
Well, he came anyway and was particularly angry with me since he realized I was the biggest contributor to his losing a few bucks a day on 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 returned uninvited.
A week later he called my husband and they exchanged pleasantries. My husband said he “sent me greetings”.
Amy, my husband is a pushover and just carries on like nothing happened.
While I forgive this handyman, I think he has a lesson to learn, that he can’t just scold us, put us in danger, and then a week later pretend everything’s fine and get back to work at our home .
I never want to hire him again, but I know this will make my husband take his side because he’s a softie.
What would you do? Please advise.
claim my ground
LOVE STANDING: You didn’t “allow” this man to do any repairs. You hired him to carry out work at your home. There’s a difference. They are doing each other no favors – there is an exchange of money for services, and reasonable expectations and behaviors on both sides are meant to keep this relationship balanced.
Forget trying to teach him a lesson. That’s 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, then so be it.
He should be paid for the work he’s done so far, and you and your husband should find someone else to finish the project.
If he’s eager to keep you as a customer, he should admit that his behavior was inappropriate and apologize specifically to you for directing most of his anger at you.
Granted, we’re all a little tense at the moment, but you and your pushover deserve that respect and validation from a pro.
DEAR AMY: My husband didn’t smoke when we got married. He now smokes a pack or two a day.
He smokes in “his” room. I ask him if he smokes, that he at least goes out on the porch. He makes a big deal out of it and says, “Why can’t I smoke a cigarette in my own house?”
I hate smoke everywhere – in the house, in the car and on our clothes! When I get up in the morning and open my bedroom door, that’s all I can smell and I get sick!
My son (who quit smoking last year) said when he’s around 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 SMOKED: Your husband’s smoking has created a significant health risk for both of you. They “spoke to him many times.” Instead of talking, make sure you insist every day that he doesn’t smoke in the house. You should make your husband too uncomfortable smoking indoors and basically annoy him enough to send him out onto the porch.
Your son (the ex-smoker) should support you in this.
Her husband has the opportunity to indulge in his deadly habit – he can smoke outside. If he continues to smoke indoors, your exposure to second-hand toxins could seriously limit your options.
DEAR AMY: You nailed it in the last paragraph of your answer to “Not trying to be a B”. A CEO I worked for once said, “If you’re not exceeding your authority, you’re not doing your job.”
LOVE BEING THERE: “B” openly demonstrated her creativity and ambition. I told her some CEOs appreciate that — because it reminds them of themselves.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.