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It’s nothing personal, but just fix the tub [opinion]

We’ve had a lot of home repairs lately. Our house is a lot like we are, slowly aging and in need of occasional patchwork.

We are grateful that we are not aging alone, that we are accompanied on this journey by our unpredictable furnace, faltering air conditioner and 60-year-old pipes with lime and calcium buildup.

What’s ironic is that the service companies always want us to buy a “membership” that guarantees a service call without the gigantic service call fee for 12 months — all of which sounds remarkably like our Medicare Advantage plan.

In any case, we needed a plumber to rip out plumbing in a bathtub not long ago, and before he arrived I received a text saying, “Your technician is on the way. Mason is married, has two kids and enjoys the outdoors and hunting.”

That was nice they told us a bit about the plumber, but then I wondered if they sent the info so we could vet him. You know, make sure he was legit and not some unscrupulous impostor working his way into the house to see if we had any old VHS tapes or landline phones he could steal and sell online.

I contemplated how I could chit-chat with Mason, or whoever he was, to verify his identity.

When a plumber comes to the door, puts on the paper footies and walks in, do you hit him with: “How is the wife? School going well for the kids? Did you get a deer this fall? What is your favorite state park?”

I can, will, and often do, talk to just about anybody, but even for me this seemed invasive.

But wait — would Mason expect personal info from me to verify my identity?

Did I need to go into my marital status?

If I started talking about our family — the kids, their spouses, all 11 immensely talented grandkids — Mason could be here for dinner.

“We’re out of venison, but do you like smothered pork chops, Mason?”

It dawned on me that I wasn’t just getting a contractor, I was getting a relationship. I didn’t want a relationship. I wanted a plumber. One who would be quick, neat and know what he was doing.

Turns out Mason was just that. I was glad I had not probed the personal information the company sent in advance.

Although, when he left I did yell out, “Give our best to the wife and kids, Mason!”

We will ask for him by name next time.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Her new book, “What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” is now available. Email her at

Source: Berkshire mont

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