A wonderfully personable dude shows up at my door as I'm getting ready to run out to buy two of my nephews their birthday presents. He informs me they're giving free roofing estimates in my neighborhood.
I think, great! My roof is looking tatty (kinda like a patchwork quilt after a botched repair attempt made by a colorblind contractor who used black shingles on a brown roof, but I digress...) and I've been meaning to get some quotes, so an hour of my time would be worth it. Just my luck! They can schedule me right away since they're doing an estimate in my neighborhood at that very moment so they can be there in an hour!
An hour gives me enough time to figure out what is growing in my sink disposal that smells like a baby dragon's potty chair and to dump out my trash which smells like the baby dragon itself. Meanwhile, I get an automated phone call requiring ME to call them back to confirm the appointment I JUST made. Ok. No problem.
A little weird, but NP. Knock on my door (did my doorbell die???) and here is another personable dude. Only this guy is personable hopped up on some super dose of chipper with a double side of sparkling personality. Compliments me very enthusiastically on my hair (it's, umm, very colorful) then his expression suddenly changes to what you might imagine a person to look like after they just discovered they have a mouthful of baby powder, and is in dire need of a glass of water.
It looked serious. So now he's in my kitchen with a glass of water. BOOM! he's in my house.
Little did I know that this was the beginning of my hostage situation. I felt a little panic rising, like when you're in a foreign country and order what everyone else is getting cause you cant read the menu only to find out you've ordered bull balls or something. No way out at that point. So you try to smile politely and just choke down what's about to be fed to you.
Well, he asked about my pets and told me how animals love him (my cat walked by and gave him the feline equivalent of the bird. I didn't give it too much weight. She's a cat. She shouts at me for her dinner, and when I present it to her she gives me the bird) asked about my kids, and took extraordinary interest in my most mundane experiences (kinda like new mom's do when that first kid burps in public and remembers to say "excuse me").
A hour passed. I don't spend that much uninterrupted time with my own husband. I'm starting to sweat. My nephews will be going giftless and I'll be in the lame-aunt category at their birthday.
Finally he sits down and begins telling me a bit about their company ethic. It feels like I'm contemplating joining a cult. I'm starting to question my reality. Front door opens and my son and his wife come in - salvation!
I let the kids know who the stranger in my living room is and the dude pops up like Hugh Heff's you-know-what and starts charming up my son extolling the virtues of the coffee table he is about to drag into my basement. I'm trying to signal him with my eyes to NOT ENGAGE - IT'S A TRAP! But he seems to think I'm just dehydrated or need to eat a banana to up my potassium because my eye is twitching. I'm nervously eyeing escape routes.
Thankfully, Mister Friendly decides he's going to take some measurements to get working on my estimate. It has been 2.5 hours at this point. I'm thinking the worst of it is over. I realize now I was as naïve as a naked baby lamb.
Born in Neverland. To a virgin mother. It is now nearly 8:00 pm. Husband is on his way home from work.
I text him a warning to NOT ENGAGE. Chippy returns from his estimates and despite the obvious aroma of dinner sizzling on the stove he wants to show me his disturbing findings (with photos). Husband walks through and Chippy immediately demands him to sit and observe. The Hubster looks down at Chippy and announces that there is no way in blazes he is going to come home and look at pictures of the horror show that is his roof after working over 200 hours (so far) this month.
He then dismisses himself and walks out to join the kids and the wine and dinner pairing that is happening, without me, in our kitchen. I start wishing I had a protein bar. Or a cyanide capsule. Chippy becomes not so chipper at this sudden turn of events, as he feels his power slipping.
I'm eyeing the kitchen and thinking of not joining the cult. Chippy is not pleased. After a VERY long discussion regarding who owns the house, and is paying for the project, their desire to have every possible person I might consider consulting about this project in the room (no really, that's serious) blah, blah, blah, Mr. Formerly Chippy has to go out to his car to consult with his manager as to whether or not he can give me a quote.
Seriously. I jest not. After 4 hours, he needed to get permission to give me a quote because my husband refused to attend indoctrination. Lo, and behold, the Power Home gods granted special dispensation to bestow upon me a quote (*cue angelic choir).
For some inexplicable reason, at this point some sort of Eureka-type time warp takes place and 2 more hours elapse. I awaken from my stupor to find that my family has all gone to bed and I've been left alone with my captor. Sleep deprivation takes hold and my eyes are crossing and I'm starting to wonder weird things, like when old guys get bushy growth in their ears, does it restrict their hearing? And is it possible to invent an insulin patch I could stick on a cats paw?
And how long could I survive in a house without running water before I start looking like a mine worker? I get handed a vague sheet with rudimentary project items (like, "Windows..... $3 bazillion"). No mention of brand/type/etc., but I don't care.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel (or is that a retina burner laser gun aimed at me???) since getting the estimate means your done, right? Au contrair, mon ami! Now starts the 30+ minutes of impressing upon me the dire situation my house is in and how waiting a mere 1-3 months will mean thousands more in irreparable damage to not just my roof but my walls and even my foundation. I resume my thought about how long I can live without running water and now add thoughts about how I might feel about a tent and a port-o-potty… Ultimately, I get chastised for not signing on the bottom line, which would be difficult to do since the price is constantly shapeshifting based on phases of the moon, Formerly Chippy's discretion, how fast I sign and whether or not I kiss the pen first.
I inform my captor that I never make decisions without first sleeping on it. He seems unable to comprehend what I've said and continues to question why I wont sign right then and there. I inform him that it is because it is 11;30pm, an hour past my bedtime, and I'm incapable of deciding what pajamas to wear, much less whether or not I want to sign on the dotted line for $50,000 worth of repairs and improvements on my home. I get brave.
I stand up. This conversation is now over. I feel like I'm 12 and its the last day of school! He continues talking as he is gathering his things and heading for the door.
He gives me a stern look as he admonishes me one last time to not willingly allow my house to crumble to a mushy, moldy, fungal pile of debris (which is apparently where I'll be inside of 3 months without immediate action on my part, or rather my checkbook's part). Then, just like that, its over. He's gone! My SIX HOURS OF CAPTIVITY is over.
I may never be able to hear a knock on the door without the nervous tic starting up again, but I'm hopeful the therapy will help with that. So, my advice to you, should a pleasant young man come to your door promising a quick free estimate from Power - SAVE YOURSELF!!!