Upon returning from our brilliant vacation in Mexico, my furnace died.
Actually, it died while we were gone. I came home and my house was 51 degrees. Since I had a delayed flight and my car was dead when I finally got to it, my return home was later than I had planned and I was too tired to deal with it. S, who was watching my furry cat babies while we were away, left a note that she thought she messed up the thermostat. I was hopefully that was the only problem. No such luck.
So I called the heating and cooling guy who fixed my AC over the summer. He’s the guy who does work for my contractor boyfriend (not really my boyfriend but he’s done some great work on my houses and if I had more money I’d have him redo the whole place) so I figure he must be a good character with good rates.
Well the heating and cooling guy is certainly a character. Probably the most interesting man I’ve met in Pittsburgh. or anywhere for that matter.
On Wednesday evening, he was here for two hours. I think he did about 30 minutes of work, and the rest of the time he talked. And talked. And told me about how he used to have a great house that was foreclosed on. It was nice when he bought it, but great once he added to it. It had an in-ground pool, waterfall, outdoor kitchen, etc. His wife raised the kids and he ran a business.
His wife never worked until his large heating and cooling business went under because he was screwed by a very large job that never paid. She fell into a great job making good money and she told him to move out. So he went to live with his mother. She called and said come home. So he did. And within a month she had lost her job. He said it was okay and they’d make do. Then he learned that she found out she was being let go just a few days before she asked him to come home. Needless to say, the marriage didn’t last. So he’s back to living with his mother.
He tried to fix my furnace. He did a repair and told me to call him in the morning and let him know if the heat stayed on. We went to the ATM so I could pay him cash for the service call. Shady, I know, but I totally didn’t care because I had good stories and heat in my house.
I called him Thursday and left a message. He must have missed the message, but showed up at my door Thursday night to see if I had heat, which I didn’t. He started it again and tried another fix.
Thursday night I learned that he was reckless in his 20s. And he spent two years in jail for selling cocaine to major league baseball players. He loves baseball! He’s clean now and has been for a long time. From observation, he runs on caffeine and nicotine now.
He called Friday morning at 7:30 to check on the heat. Then came over. Quit simply, the furnace couldn’t stay on and since it was 18 years old, it wasn’t worth sinking more money into. So we went down to the wholesaler and I bought a new furnace. Then stopped at the ATM to give him $100 cash. He and a guy came over at 5:30 Friday night to install it. They were here until 11 p.m.
That’s when I learned he was an only child. His father was an Irish immigrant who was kind as can be until he had four drinks in him. That’s when he turned into a mean drunk who had to be fetched from the bar. He was raised to fight but is afraid of mice. His Italian mother once broke the neck of a mouse in front of him and his kids and to this day it gives him the creeps.
If I could make the time and commitment, I could write a novel about this guy. Others might be frustrated by his timing and rambling but I’m intrigued and fascinated.
I have a hard time with small talk and meeting new people because I’m so uncomfortable with who I am. That’s why I love meeting people who just put themselves out there and have no fear about showing anyone and everyone who they are. It’s a little crazy and totally inspirational.