August 4, 2008

I Can Always Find Something to Fret About

Our dining-room-to-be is being sheetrocked today, which is a pretty exciting step. Soon it will be time to decide on the vinyl (more on this later: all my favorites were not just the "good," not just the "better," and not even the "best" categories, but the "luxury" category. Um, no.), and on paint colors (likely to be cream, because that's almost always what I end up indecisively choosing).

The sheetrocking guy is nice, too: he has the radio on and I can tell he's restraining himself from singing along too loudly so he won't disturb us, but he keeps whistling and singing in spite of himself, including a falsetto segment on a Faith Hill song.

I think of that kind of thing as a sign of an inherently happy person. Paul is the same kind of whistler/singer, although of course he belts it out because this is his own house. If I were ever in a position to remarry, I'd look for that singing/whistling thing again. Paul may have his tempers like anyone else, and he might drive me crazy sometimes like any husband would, but he's about 1% tempers/crazy-making and about 99% singing along with the radio and doing falsetto on the girl songs, and that makes for a pretty happy life.

And now the sheetrocking guy can't hold back anymore, because Tainted Love is on. Ha! He's whistling the little boww-boww noises, then going loud for a few moments on the lyrics before remembering where he is and damping the sound.

But here is the point of this post: fretting! Should I be offering the sheetrocking guy some snacks or drinks or something? He's been working out there for 6 solid hours, and as far as I can tell he hasn't taken a break. I have brownies in the oven, and could offer him some when they're done, with his choice of milk or ice water or Heineken.

But I feel so shy about it! What if he's diabetic? What if he wants milk but only if it's 2%? What if he thinks I'm hitting on him or something? *wrings hands*

What do you do, when you have people working on your home? Do you offer snacks/drinks?


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46 comments:

AndreAnna said...

I always offer coffee and fresh iced tea (How Southern of me, right? I'm from Jersey.) and any snacks I have around the house.

When we had guys here for more than a week working, I'd stop and get bagels or donuts a couple of times.

And unless you do it in your nightie and pink fluffy high-heeled slippers, I wouldn't worry about him thinking your motives are of the morally vacant kind. ;)

Farrell said...

I would offer.

staci said...

When we had wood floors installed there was just one guy and he worked solid for hours without stopping. We basically couldn't use any part of our house so we went out for lunch. When we came back we asked him if he had had lunch and he said no so we ran and got him a value meal from Burger King.

I felt weird about it... like bring your own lunch dude! This isn't a dinner party we're having here. And yet, he was still in our home and hungry.

It took him two days and we fed him both days. So? My guess is feed him although I still think he should provide his own food.

Denise said...

Yes, offer him a snack. Even if he's diabetic (I am), chances are he can still have a brownie--especially when doing manual labor all day. Just like my mother says, "just because you don't want to dance doesn't mean you don't want anyone to ask"--so offer snacks.

Maggie said...

I always have to offer things. It's a compulsion that I have. Must. Offer. Treats. But I think it's just a nice gesture - and really, who wouldn't like a brownie after smelling them in the oven?!

Thia said...

Offer. What I offer depends on the time of year.

Hillary said...

I usually hide in another room or leave outright, forcing my husband to deal with the person, for the exact same reasons that have you wringing your hands.
But if I couldn't hide or leave, I would probably offer. Better to feel shy and awkward than guilty and awkward. And, as Maggie says, how could anyone resist brownies after smelling them baking?

Jenni said...

I always offer a beverage.

Alice said...

totally offer - and i LOVE denise's mom's saying! so very true, and good to remember when i'm worried someone won't like / will be offended by what i offer.

Tamara said...

When my movers were sweating up three flights of stairs I offered to go around to the store to pick up waters, etc. They were so grateful it embarrassed me. Offer him a brownie. I bet he'll take you up on it.

Elizabeth said...

There is nothing I hate more in the universe than the awkwardness of having someone else working in my house. NOTHING. And so I never offer them anything, but if I had brownies, I totally would. That being said I would expect someone to bring their own lunch/beverages, but there's nothing wrong with offering someone water/beer/milk/ a brownie just to be nice.
Mr. E is a happy singer too and you are right, he is just that way. Happy in life. It's wonderful, because it keeps me happy too to be around such happiness, and it doesn't come to me naturally. It's a rare and amazing quality in someone.

Linda said...

I always offer drinks in the form of "There's water and coke and lemonade in the fridge and the glasses are right here," and then offer one more time to make sure they know to help themselves. Or "The coffee is fresh and the mugs/creamer are right there."

If someone was in my house all day and I was making something like brownies, yes, I would offer when I dished them out for everyone else. I don't offer specific things (like a meal), but do offer snack type stuff that we're eating anyway.

If I were him and you were feeding just ME, I would feel weird. But if you're distributing something to your brood and eating it yourself, I would feel normal, like you were just friendly and polite and HOT.

Jess said...

I offer. If he's diabetic, he'll say no, and that will be that.

Torsten does that singing thing, too. It's cute.

-R- said...

I always offer drinks but not snacks, but that is because I rarely have snacks around the house. People always seem to appreciate that I offer a drink, even if they say no.

Lawyerish said...

I was in a sweat over this exact issue a few months ago when we had work done on our apartment!

I ended up just poking my head in at some point on their first day and telling them to let me know if they wanted anything to drink or eat at any point, or they could help themselves to anything in the fridge. It turned out both of the guys had brought their own lunches, so it wasn't a big deal.

Don't worry; I'm sure he's not thinking about it and won't be offended one way or another!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

I always offer a drink / snack. It's always very much appreciated, even if they decline.

I like the whistling / singing thing. Even though my husband is not at all the type to ever sing along!

Swistle said...

AndreAnna- Wait, I'd have to change out of my pink fluffy high-heeled slippers? Forget it!

Denise- I love that!

Hillary- Good point about shy vs guilty, since I'll be feeling awkward either way!

thatgirlfromcolorado said...

Put yourself in his position. Would you be appreciative if you were working hard in someone's home and they offered you a snack? I would! It shows that you kindly acknowledge both his work and his presence as a possibly hungry human being. And if he does in fact prefer 2% organic GMO-free milk over whatever you might be offering, I doubt he's going to be that picky while in your home.

You are a nice person - we all know it - and now he will too. :)

Omaha Mama said...

We offered the guys who were putting in our new windows beverages, to which they declined. If I had someone inside working, I think I'd offer brownies. I'd put it as "I made brownies, would you want one?" Then if he declines, no worries.

I'm a fretter too. Fret, fret, fret...

babytoddleretc said...

I tend to offer, usually water or a soda. If I had brownies, I would offer them. I have found sometimes they take me up on the offer and sometimes they don't. They don't seem to see me as hitting on them.

However, I did have one guy ask me if I would like to go away with him. BTW-- he was delivering new master bedroom furniture. You would think this would be a sign that things were going well in the marriage-- apparently this guy didn't think so.

Miss Grace said...

Ask if you can get him anything. If he asks for moon sand or something, he'll understand if you don't have it, cuz, um, it's not his house, yknow?

t2ed said...

Offer him beverages but hold out on the beer until he's done with the job.

Oh and harmonize with him to any Soft Cell song.

Pickles and Dimes said...

I would offer him a brownie and a beverage. I mean, you almost HAVE to, since you've been tantalizing him with the sweet smells of baking! :)

Eleanor Q. said...

I would offer the brownies, and a drink. Perhaps putting a square or too in a ziploc for when he's done so he can have a treat on the way home? Easier for him to say yes even if he doesn't really want (but everyone wants brownies, right?)and then you feel good not only about offering but also for thinking ahead. I usually offer drinks every once in ahwile even if they keep saying no. After that I just go and hide in my room.

Saly said...

I'm late to the party, but despite severe nervous tummy, I brought the guys coffee every mornng when our garage was being built. I would offer coffee or beer. Sweets are nice too.

Also, when I saw your Twitter, I was sure it was your brother. Congrats Auntie!!

Erin said...

Offer! For sure!

I love the singing along segment of this post. It makes me happy just to know that the sheetrock guy at your house is like this. Restores some faith in humanity and all.

anatomist said...

i would totally offer. i did construction and painting and repairs and such for a few years and so often i would find myself in someones home smelling fantastic food, or desperately thirsty but having already emptied my water bottle, and even if i had already eaten i so appreciated any time any one would offer. i think of it like being in a workplace and another department is having a potluck and even though you brought your own lunch, their offer of tasty snacks sure makes your day.

d e v a n said...

I don't think you have to, but it sure is nice to offer. At least a drink. I'd be hard pressed to offer brownies to anyone, even a whistling/singing person. ;)

Dr. Maureen said...

I know he's probably already done for the day, but I'd definitely offer. And you should also make sure to include water as one of the choices, because people often feel uncomfortable about accepting food or drinks, but most people are OK with water because it's cheap and innocent. Sometimes I just bring the water if it's really hot, like when the plumber was re-installing our radiator and practically gave himself a hernia trying to loosen the... thing you have to loosen.

Also, I have repainted a lot of rooms now, and am becoming much better at choosing colors. For my son's room, we found a palatte of colors at Sherwin-Williams, and ended up using three colors from that card and his room looks awesome. For the bathroom, I chose the colors myself and it is horrible. (Pink. So very pink. What was I thinking?) So for the kitchen, we went back to a palatte suggested by Benjamin Moore, and it is gorgeous (after pics are up at my site). So my point? Try to find a palatte with colors you like and use those!

Little-Bit said...

I would offer, but just the basics. Coffee/iced tea and brownie/cookie. It's a nice gesture snack, not a meal. Let us know what you do, o.k.?

K in the Mirror said...

Someone who's willing to sing falsetto with Faith Hill is definitely the sort who'd appreciate the offer of a brownie.

I find that almost every worker who comes to the house has brought his own stuff and turns down my offer, but it's nice to ask.

BRash said...

I always offer. Just a quick, "Can I get you something to drink? I have water, Diet Coke, or Gatorade...?". I figure if I offer milk, they'll understand that means whatever kind of mystery milk I have in the fridge and if they're THAT nitpicky that they can only drink 2%, they'll turn down the milk, or at least ask about the milk makeup.
You should definitely offer brownies if you're baking them. How sad to work for six hours in a brownie-smelling house and come away sans brownie.
Also, I don't think a handyman could possible think a mother of five with husbandly things lying around the house is hitting on him. No offense.

Jenn said...

I always offer. Cleaning people, movers, repair people; I generally just say "there's a Brita and sodas in the fridge, here are glasses, help yourself" and leave it at that with a reminder a bit later especially if it is hot. And yes yes yes to fresh treats--someone can always say no.

Lunch? meh. I think I'd expect you to bring your own, if you're working a full day here.

Rini said...

It's so wonderful to know that I'm not the only one who feels utterly inept when it comes to etiquette and "being sociable".

I'm still feeling awkward just from reading the double dose of Houseguest Awkwardness. *shudder*

g~ said...

We painted our living room orange...well, terra cotta actually but I think it's really called burnt toast. Seriously. And I am SO GLAD we moved away from the beige just for that one--everywhere else is a sea of tan. Everyone comments on how awesome the color is. And, although it is expensive, it's JUST PAINT, try a crazy color and repaint if necessary. And yes, I would love a brownie, thanks.
g~

the new girl said...

If I'm not skeeved out by a workman who is in my house (rare occurrence, not being skeeved) I do offer a beverage. They usually don't accept but it's nice to offer.

I get the fretting, though. Like I said, I'm usually skeeved and want the whole thing done with ASAP.

aibee said...

I'm a refreshment offerer too. Tea, coffee, water as required. The usual. :)

pinkelefant said...

offer it up! he is a person too! he was probably WISHING you would offer brownies! :)

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

If you approve of his work thus far, I would offer. He sounds like an amiable guy , so he probably would appreciate the offer, if not the actual brownies.

We are in the process of building a house and our framer is working his tail off. He's a young guy and is doing a great job. I've taken cookies, bottled water and gatorade out to the job site (when Hubby was helping him) and also have taken him some homemade jam to take home for he and his wife. I mean, we're obviously paying him, but I want him to know we appreciate his efforts above and beyond the paycheck.

I think it's just a genuinely nice gesture, especially if you're happy with the work they're doing and how they're treating your home.

Michelle said...

I always offer the workmen things. The landscapers had a cooler I put out full of stuff. It's just me and how I was raised. But I know not nearly everyone does that, so no pressure!

So what did you choose for the floor? I'm curious!

Megan said...

I always offer and they rarely accept. Then I wonder if they really wanted the soda, but said no because they felt bad. My new M.O. is to approach them with both bottled water and soda in hand. This is kind of like the way my dad used to make me sell Girl Scout cookies. "Hi, I'm selling cookies, how many boxes would you like to buy?" This way there's no yes or no involved.

Anna said...

We just had this discussion at work today, when M asked us all if she was supposed to tip the J.C. Penny's guy who was coming in to install blinds. Everyone said, no, but a cold drink and some pretzels or something would be nice.

So now I share that with you. Er, probably way too late for it to be helpful.

Angie said...

I always offer, though I'm often turned down.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

If they've been working a while (or especially if they are doing work outside) I offer them something to drink.

They normally turn it down because they have their own food/drinks but I always think they are appreciative that I've offered.

EMama said...

My husband was an electrician for a handful of years, and he always got so excited if the homeowners offered him food or drink. He had his own lunch & giant water bottle, but it just made him feel appreciated.

Maxie said...

It always makes me feel better to offer too-- it kind of makes things less weird.