I heard a noise on my roof, and then saw leaves and twigs floating down. I hurried to the door and saw a ladder against my house. I knew who it was—a company I called last week to clean out my gutters and replace the old covers. They estimated a hefty price, but the gutters have been neglected since I became the sole decision maker around here. I agreed to the work on my house and the stand-alone garage. But my last words to the owner were: You will call me before you come, won’t you?
I distinctly remember him saying, “Of course. We’ll call you before we come over.”
So why were three men working on my roof before I even knew they were on my property? Three leaf blowers whirred like monster bees. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and I was on my way out for a 5:00 appointment.
I had no time to prepare for this invasion. Had I known they were coming at this time, I’d have my little dog secured inside and I would have covered myself, especially my face before going outside. Dust flew like a tornado had wrapped my house in fury.
As I tried to go out to talk with the men, my dog slipped past me, and I didn’t even know it. I imagine she was curious to see what all this ruckus was about. I stood outside as far from the blowing dirt and dust as possible and screamed up to the men. No one heard me or maybe they were simply ignoring me.
I hurried back inside to put little Lexie in a safe place until I returned home around 8 p.m. That was when I found she was gone. I searched the house twice. I went outside and yelled above the leaf blower that now was blowing away the debris that had come off my roof.
“Did you see my dog?”
“My dog must have gotten out and I can’t find her. If you had called me like you said you were going to do, I’d have been ready for all this.”
Obviously he could not have cared less about my lost puppy. “What’s her name?”
When I told him, he hollered a few times, Lexie, Lexie, and then went back to blowing the deck, the ramp, the steps and I went to my car.
I drove around our circle looking for my tiny little companion that I loved so much. No sign of her. She loves to ride with me and I knew if she saw the car, she would come running. Maybe she didn’t stay on the circle. Maybe she headed up the mountain through the woods. Would she come back? Would she know to come back?
It was after five now. I called to explain my no-show. I came home, wondering if I had locked her in a room without knowing it. She is so small and quick, I have done that before. When I miss her, I retrace my steps and open a door. There she is so happy to see me, wiggling her little body and white-tipped tail in total joy.
But, once again, I found the house was empty. Would I find her before dark? I went back to my car and started out again. This time I planned to stop at each house and ask if she had been there or had been seen. Just as I reached the bottom of my driveway I saw her, trotting happily down the street heading home. I don’t know where she had been, but I opened the car door and she popped right in. I hugged her and she gave me kisses on my nose.
I did not go back to my house. I was due at a writers’ meeting at six o’clock and it was five-thirty. I made the decision. Lexie would go with me. I’d feel far safer with her in my car than at my house with the crew working on my roof. Besides, I didn’t know what I might say to the business owner if I had to face him in the state I was in. I wanted to scream at him, and I wanted to tell him I would never hire him again.
I try to be as courteous as possible whether in a business situation or in personal contacts with people I know. If I tell you I will call before coming over, you will not be surprised to see me knocking on your door. Many of us have our pet peeves about repairmen showing up unexpected or not showing when expected. If I have to have the cable guy come out, I prepare to be home all that day, no matter what time I was given by a friendly voice two thousand miles away.
You might say that coming to my house without calling is my biggest pet peeve. I sometimes stay in my pajamas all day if I am writing or not planning to go out. I might not answer my door if someone shows up without calling first. I like to know who is on my property and who is standing at my door before I open it.
Needless to say, the local gutter repairman will not be coming back to my house. When I came home tonight, I found his bill with the huge amount for his time tucked into my front door. I am tempted to deduct about a hundred dollars for the stress and discomfort he caused. My time is as important as his, even though I don’t make big bucks in my job.
What do you think, Readers? Do I have the right to charge him for what he put me through?