I feel the need

I feel the need

Monday, January 27, 2014

Some say misogyny. Some say chivarly. I say "You were wrong and I was right!"

Hey there, ho there kids.

It's cold up here in the Upper Midwest. 

When I say that, I don't mean it's the usual January type of cold where we get a chill when we cross the street to chat with our neighbors without our coats on.  I mean the actual high temp tomorrow of my home town is not going to cross the 0 degree line.  (And that's Fahrenheit, for those of you who deal in Celsius.  Fahrenheit means freezing is 32 degrees.  So....zero...that's pretty fartin' cold!)  And then, we have this delightful thing up here called WIND CHILL FACTOR which is going to bring the "feels like" temp down to a rousting -40.  And for funsies, we've had nothing but wind and
Do not adjust your set.  These are actual negative numbers.
constant, daily snow, so we are buried under drifts that move every day.  It's an adventure.

I'm telling you about the cold only as a preface to yet another one of my super sensible customer care phone calls I took the other day.  At Stuff, Installed, our customers tend to skew a bit elderly because much of the stuff we install involves elderly safety.  So a few weeks ago when we got the first bout of DEATH COLD an older gentleman called.  This is how that went.

Man:  May I speak to someone who knows about the showers you install?

ME:  Sir, I'm the customer service person, what can I do for you today?

Man:  I'd like to speak to someone who knows about the showers you install.

ME:  Sir, I can help you with that.

MAN:  I'm not sure you can.

Okay, I refuse to get all bunched up about sexism.  He's old, I tend to sound younger than I am on the phone, so let's just say he didn't think someone the age of his grand daughter could help me and not assume that he doesn't think a woman can help him with his stupid shower problem.

As it turned out, I could.  See, his shower was frozen.  That's what he told me.  Not uncommon up here when things get frigid.  Pipes freeze all the time.  I sent a tech and all was well.

Mostly because I never miss
a chance to quote this movie.
However, no one told me the whole story of that repair.  Sometimes I think the repair guys don't tell me how things turn out because they don't like having to go on repair calls.  To quote "The Breakfast Club"  'It's an imperfect world.  Screws fall out all the time.'

Well late last week Skippy bon Old Fart called me back, and this is how it went this time:

Man:  I'd like to speak to someone who knows about the repair I had two weeks ago.

ME:  Well, if you give me your phone number I can look that up and I'll be happy to help you.

MAN:  I had a fella out here two weeks ago.  I can't remember his name, but he fixed the problem.  And then the problem came back and I fixed it, but now I have the same problem. You go find that fella and ask him to talk to me.

ME:  Sir, I would need your phone number to look up your account and find out what it is we fixed and who it is we sent.

Man:  May I please speak to someone who knows about the repair I had two weeks ago?

At this point, I realize this could go on for awhile, and I am running out of patience about as fast as frost crystals are running up the INSIDE of my OFFICE door. 

ME:  Sir, I'm the only one here, so I'm hoping you'll give me your phone number, or your name, so I can look up the account and help you with your problem.

Man: (gives me the phone number.)  I had that fella here, he knows what to do.  But I have an idea how to keep this from happening."

ME: I see we fixed a frozen pipe?

Man:  Yes.  The part of the shower pipe that attaches to the shower head is right up by my roof and when it gets cold like this it freezes.

ME:  Let me understand this:  The goose neck shaped pipe that is attached to your shower head freezes because it's close to your roof?

MAN:  Yes.

ME:  Sir, I think you may want to look at your insulation.  Pipes freeze in this weather, but an interior goose neck shouldn't freeze.  I think this is an insulation issue.

Man:  Well the fella that came over, he knocked in the pipe and that fixed it, so I did the same thing when it happened again.

ME: Well, sir, I honestly believe you may need a bit more insulation in your roof.  (At this point I'm trying to imagine how cold it is in his shower if that short bent pipe that leads to the shower head freezes.)

Man:  May I speak to the fella that was here and fixed it?

ME: He's on the road at the moment.

Man:  Well, I have an idea that will fix this and I need help with it.

ME:  (because I have zero self esteem)  What's your idea?

MAN:  I want a bath tub thing, the part where the water comes out...what's that called?

ME:  Faucet?

Man:  No, the thing in the tub where the water comes out.

ME:  Faucet?

Man: No, wait...the pipe thing where the hot and cold water pour out of the wall.  The spigot.  No, that's not right.  Wait, faucet!  The faucet!  I want a bath tub faucet put in the pipe that goes to my shower head.so that when I turn the water off I can open the faucet and let the water run out.  That way the water will drain out of the shower head and it won't freeze.

Well, that's a good idea, with one small issue:  THAT'S NOT HOW FAUCETS WORK.  Opening a faucet is called TURNING ON THE WATER.  Now, you all know that button thingy on your faucet, the one you push down when you're done taking a shower?  That's call a diverter, and I'm thinking that's what he figured he'd do, just push that button and water would drip out of the faucet.  But that's not how things work.

Me:  Sir, I don't think we can do something like that.  (I look at his complete order.  It's a walk in shower.)  First of all, we'd have to rip everything out. (I look at his order more.)  Sir, do you have a hand held shower head?

MAN:  Yes.

ME:  With a hose?

MAN:  Yes,

ME:  And the shower head is attached to a hose and not to the wall?

Man:  Yes.

Me:  (Banging my head on the desk.)  Sir, the no pipes are freezing in your house.  If your shower head is too close to the ceiling on days like this where it might be freezing, I suggest you let the shower head dangle to drain all the water out of it. I also recommend you get your insulation looked at.

Man: No.  I want a bath tub faucet put in so I can drain the shower head.

Me:  Sir, in all honesty, I don't believe we can do that.

Man:  Well, then I want to talk to someone who does think we can do that.

Now, at this point what I wanted to say was, "No one in this building thinks we can do that because it's crazy, it's going to unbelievably expensive, and if you'd let your hand held shower head dangle upside down on these cold days it'll be fine.  You'll make it through this winter and let's face it, you aren't going to be around for next winter you old fart.  So stop saying insane things, and treating me like I'm a nine year old girl."

But I didn't.

Instead, I spied PM who just walked in, unaware that I was going to dump Mr. Nut Case on him. 

Me:  Sir, you know what?  My manager just walked in.  I'm going to have him talk to you for a moment.

Man:  Good. Now I get to talk to someone who knows something.

I'm sure he didn't mean that the way it sounded.  I'm sure he's from that era where men were men and women made pot roasts and dusted. I'm sure he meant to protect me from the evils of his frozen shower head and his obviously inferior insulation.  I'm not a women's libber, but I'd like to think that after being on this planet as long as I have I can command a certain amount of respect when I tell someone I know what I'm talking about. 

But I had a very good laugh.  After a very long conversation, PM came to my desk. 

Me: So, what did you tell him?

PM:  I told him we couldn't do something like that.  I suggested he have his insulation looked at.

The sad thing is...the guy probably did it because PM told him to.


  1. Wow, the stubbornness and arrogance of some people! This old guy should really be put in a home if he is that... misguided.

  2. Book Review Request

    “What a delightful book. I will almost certainly revisit this endearing book, and I suspect I shall also remember it well in years to some.”
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    I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore
    Hank Kellner

    Growing up in the fictional town of Meadowview, young Willie Watson objects to being required to play the part of an orange in the school play when he is nine and in the fourth grade. But that's just the beginning of his problems. As he continues through elementary school and into junior high school, Willie has to deal with the town bully; Christmas with his relatives; the death of a schoolmate; the loss of his girlfriend; the theft of a fountain pen, and his broken eyeglasses.
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    I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore contains a wealth of humorous and often touching descriptions of a young boy's fantasies and life experiences as he grows up in a small town many years ago. This coming of age book is suitable not only for young adults, but also for older readers.

    About the Author: Hank Kellner is a retired associate professor of English. He is the author of 125 Photos for English Composition Classes (J. Weston Walch, 1978), How to Be a Better Photographer (J. Weston Walch, 1980), Write What You See (Prufrock Press, 2010), and, with Elizabeth Guy Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing Prufrock Press, 2013). His other writings and photographs have appeared in hundreds of publications nationwide.

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