The furnace repair guy showed up two days early - this is Wisconsin, people here get up early - to do the annual maintenance on the furnace. Which meant that with 30 minutes notice - they called first, I had to tear through the house and make sure that it was in a condition that wouldn't shame me to the world. Although I have to say that I am a decent housekeeper even when I don't expect company. I was shocked at the condition of some of the houses I saw when we were buying a house. People knew that a potential buyer was coming in and yet the house had a stack of laundry six feet high in the corner and reeked of wet dog.
The furnace guy did whatever it is that he does - it involved noisy equipment, so Shirley was happy. She sat on the bench near the furnace and watched and let the noise roll over her. She loved the roto-rooter guys, too. She likes the vacuum cleaner.
Shirley is one weird cat.
SH was on the phone, his weekly conference call with his boss.
The furnace guy came upstairs to tell me what he had done and what needed to be done.
"You need a new air filter."
"I think my husband changes those. He's on the phone, so I can't ask him. Maybe it's worth it just to have you do it, though. How much do you charge?"
"It's $36, which includes the filter."
I shook my head. "Nope. I know he's done it before and I'm pretty sure there are some spare filters somewhere in the basement. If not, I'll go to Home Depot. What else?"
He explained that there was something wrong with the lmnkr and the wstwd was also bad. "It's OK, though," he said. "The lmnkr is warranted by the manufacturer, so it won't cost you anything to replace it. The wstwd will cost you about $150 for the parts. We can do that with the lmnkr labor, so there would be no additional labor."
"So my net cost would be $150?"
"That sounds good, but I'll have to talk to my husband. I know he'll probably want to talk to you first. He won't think I gave him enough information."
"OK," he said. "Have him give me a call. Or anyone in the office can talk to him. Just let us know."
Before the furnace guy could walk out the door, SH came flying down the stairs, phone in hand, mouthpiece on his head.
"What are you doing!" he asked. "Don't buy anything! Don't sign anything!"
I looked at him and rolled my eyes. "What? I'm not. Don't worry." I turned to the furnace guy. "See what I mean?"
He smiled, took his clipboard, and left.
An hour later, SH finished with his call and came back downstairs.
"Why were you panicking?" I asked.
"I didn't want you to let him install the air filter? I can do that!"
"I know," I said. "I already told him."
"But what if you had let him? And he had charged us?"
"Did you really think I would authorize him to do work without asking how much it cost? You know what a skinflint I am. Besides, I USED TO OWN MY OWN HOUSE! I know how to talk to repairmen!"
Sometimes I want to bop SH over the head with all the files I accumulated from when I owned my own house in Memphis. A big bop.