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Home Repairs and Norman

Story ID:3366
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
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I will probably lose all the women readers who have husbands who are
handy as well as renters who don't have to worry about this "mundane"
concern. However, for those interested and who might learn something
from my experiences--2007 was a very good year for me and my home repairs.

I thought it was time to replace my 3 forty year-old or older Montcrief
furnaces. They still worked, but I didn't like wasting gas with a continuous
burning pilot. Yes, I know that they could be turned off in the summer
months, but it was becoming burdensome for me to do this. Also, with the
ever high gas prices, I knew it was time to get furnaces which were more
efficient. Luckily, because I'm a senior citizen, I was able to get a no-interest
loan for 3 new 95% EFFICIENT FURNACES --(efficient and costly).

Even though I will have to pay monthly loan installments, my renters and I
are warm and cozy. I think our gas bills will be smaller. Too soon to really
say. The payments for my loan will start in January 2008 and continue
through 2011. Being in debt for home improvement is not new to me. Some
years back I put in replacement windows for the whole house and in 1995 I
had a new garage built --both paid for with monthly loan installments. This
time around, I could have used my home equity or a reverse mortgage for the
the new furnaces but I nixed the idea. Probably ingrained in me is the example
of my Slovak immigrant parents who believed in PAY AS YOU GO.

Anybody having a home knows that there are always needs and repairs.
Some of you may be lucky enough to be able to pay upfront for them, though
someone told me that most people belong in my category --having to get loans.
I even felt sorry when the City worker told me that he had visited a double which
had been badly neglected. They kept up with nothing. I said I bet they were
looking at $50,000 or more in needed repairs. He didn't disabuse me re this

Then I received a special blessing re my home care needs- NORMAN. My
upstairs renter said his friend had been in construction for 30 years and was
presently not working. He said he knew that Norman would be glad to work for
me and he would make it easier by allowing him to live with him during this
time. Wonderful. During my 30+ years of home ownership, I have probably
made "hundreds" of calls to repairmen and contractors for estimates. I wish
that I could say that I ALWAYS made wise decisions. I wish that I could say
that MOST of the time I did. I don't think so!

Take a simple repair this summer. My trellis on my porch had come un-
anchored. I got this home contractor's telephone number off of a sheet put out
by the City no less. He came out -sans ladder and with a couple of guys in a car.
I provided the ladder and he pronounced that screws instead of nails will do
the job. True - his 15 minute job only cost me $30, but by week's end it had
become detached.

Then I saw a man working across the street for a neighbor. When he was
finished, I asked him to look at my trellis. Sure, he could fix it. He used nails
again and told me - this will never come away again. A week or so later it did.

Next, I decided to try someone from the handyman's ads from our suburban
paper. He came out and asked for an outrageous sum. I said- thanx but no
thanx. Finally I turned to the yellow pages and bingo I got a winner. He took
a piece of lumber --the length of the trellis and anchored it to the porch's ceiling
To it he nailed the trellis. Vola - job done expertly and ONLY on the third try and
$65 down the drain! Whatever he charged me was worth it, but it was probably
the house call charge of $50 or so.

Norman needed me because he was out of work, but I needed him even more.
I wouldn't have to keep on looking for that elusive HANDYMAN because many
of them proved to be less than handy. I have seen more than my share of poor
and shoddy jobs. Norman was different. He was eager to please and accomplish
the task assigned to him to the best of his ability which I found was exceptional.

Now I wouldn't HAVE TO CALL FOR ESTIMATES for the many jobs which needed
doing. What a blessing. And a big thanx is due to Weegie, my renter who was
kind enough to let Norman share his small apartment during the repairs. He had
known Norman since they were boys, so while being inconvenienced with having
a "semi-permanent" guest, this accomodation made things easier for both Norman
and me. Here are some jobs Norman accomplished for me this fall.

1. He sealed the SEAMS on the northern side of my house with a caulking agent.
One place in particular was allowing water to filter into my basement.
2. My 1985 garage had a panel which had black mold growing on it. Norman
said that it happened because the roof was not put on correctly. He took off
all the vinyl siding on that side of the garage and replaced the PANEL and
repaired the roof.
3. My neighbor's garage was the "fence" which separated our two properties.
One problem. Whoever put up his gutter failed to attach it properly and the
rain would fall through the cracks soaking up my yard and even causing
water to seep into a corner of the basement. I finally got permission to have
Norman correct the GUTTER problem and he did. He had been a roofer and
knew what materials were needed to correct this situation.
4. I was made aware of my BUCKLED FENCE one day. The next door renter who
reported this to me said he believed that some kids had been climbing over
it. Another job for Norman! The pole to which the fence was attached was
badly bent. Both Norman and Weegie said this could not have been done by
kids walking on the pole. I told the renter to report it to the landlady because
it looked more like a van had backed into it and there was a van in her yard.
Whether he did or not, it was Norman who did the fixing. We purchased a long
bar replacement from Home Depot and then Norman dextorously coaxed out
the twisted fence to its normal shape and reattached it to the bar. It looked
like a new fence when finished.

I couldn't believe all the jobs we found needing to be done and Norman did them
all including: --Pulling out the tough roots of wild-growing Rose of Sharon.
--Replacing the paneling removed in the basement because of
the gas leak
--Digging a trench around the corner of the yard where water
had been coming in and filling it with gravel.
--Removing the grasses which had grown around my rose bushes --
ouch. Yes, he pricked himself but that part of my flower bed
never looked so good.
--Creating a deeper edging of my front lawn to allow water which
puddled on the sidewalks to empty into.

Now you can see why I appreciated Norman. Everywhere I look on the outside
of my house, I see Norman's work. How grateful I am that God sent him to me.
He worked 4 or 5 hours a day and stayed at Weegies probably for 4-6 weeks if not
longer. Weegie took him home in December because he had no car.

Two days later the unthinkable happened. Norman was rushed to the hospital
with a brain anuerism. Weegie took me to the hospital to see him. As we were
coming in, we saw him fighting a nurse but then he settled in as the IV's kicked in.
He has been in an induced coma for almost two weeks now, but hopefully because
his blood pressure is stabilized, they will be able to move him out of intensive care.
I hope he has turned the corner and is on his way to recovery.

If he could hear me, I would say - Norman, don't forget you promised to paint my
foundation in spring! Just kidding. But I would tell him that I pray that whatever
God wills for him, that he is ready-- whether it be life or death. He is in my prayers
and has been since I found out about his hospitalization. I will forever be grateful
for the wonderful work he did at my house -- saving me countless hours of time
searching for all the workers whose hats he ALL wore so admirably.

PS. Sadly God called Norman home on Jan.13, 2008. They said that blood was bleeding in his brain. Why didn't they go in and stop it? For me the answer is -- Norman had no money. I will miss you Norman but am also glad that you are at rest. You deserve it.