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the trouble with tradies . . .


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#1 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:19 AM

We need to get a plumber out this afternoon to sort a blocked drain (and hopefully not inform us the pipes are full of tree roots  hands.gif ). Anyway, DH has called up and booked it and is heading home a bit early from work so he can be here when the plumber gets here. Why you ask? Because I am a big stupid sooky la la when it comes to tradies.

I honestly don't know what it is, but I struggle like crazy with the idea of a tradie in my house. I'm a confident, outgoing woman, and I like to learn things about my crappy little house for future reference. But I hate hate HATE being here on my own with a tradie. I don't fear them, I just don't seem to know what to do. Do I hang around and ask questions, or will that annoy them? Do I pretend like they're not there? That just seems rude. It drives me absolutely bonkers. It's the same reason I won't have a cleaner, even though DH is all for it - I just wouldn't know what to do.

Surely I'm not alone in my weirdness? Has anyone else had this and managed to get past it, or am I forever cursed to need a tradie chaperone?

#2 elmo_mum

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

i have a rotti dog

and a yapping jack russell


btw - they would like you to death, and the rotti would only hurt you when he sits on you or steps on your toes
they dont know that...

#3 CallMeProtart

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

Actually I'm a bit like this. I kind of ignore them, but I do feel guilty about it. Was worst when we had builders over for several weeks, but at least they were outside.

We have a cleaner, and I feel awkward if I'm not working while she's cleaning. Fortunately my house is a pigsty so I normally tidy as she cleans, which frankly is the only time I can get motivated to do so, so it ends up a good thing unless I'm having a tired day!

#4 ~*Twilight~Zone*~

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

I'm with you - I don't know what to do when they are there.

When they are outside it's okay because I can kind of ignore them but then they have to come in and out the house getting stuff from their ute etc.  What do I do then?  Play on the computer?  Do housework?  Is it rude to just sit and watch TV?

Inside I feel compelled to hang around in case they need something (I think this stems from having to hang around when DH did anythine as I was always his go-for)

No OP you are not alone in your weirdness.

#5 Tesseract

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

I have had similar feelings. Nowadays I have a 'script' that I go through with tradies.

First, answer the door! Take them to the problem, discuss the problem. When they get to work leave them to it, just potter about the house. After a while offer them a drink (water usually, a cuppa if I'm feeling generous and they seem nice). At the end of their work ask my questions.

#6 Mamabug

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

If you were at work, would you like your client peering over your shoulder the whole time asking questions???

I understand it is your home, but it is also the tradie's workplace for the duration of the job. Supervise from a distance and ask your questions when they are finished.

If it is a really long job, it is okay to offer a cold drink. Try not to engage them in too much conversation as this is added to the hourly rate!!

#7 Dresden

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

Tradies wife here.

It's annoying if you hover constantly. Popping in every now and then to offer a drink though, is appreciated. Keep a polite distance, but of course, it is your house, and you are entitled to ask questions.

And to those out there getting tiling done, please, please, don't sneak up behind the tiler when he is bent under a bench, or cupboard and startle him so he hits his head hard enough to knock himself out and leave a bloody mess all over your floor, which is what we had to deal with last month :/



#8 SophieBear

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:51 AM

QUOTE (Tesseract @ 25/01/2013, 12:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have had similar feelings. Nowadays I have a 'script' that I go through with tradies.

First, answer the door! Take them to the problem, discuss the problem. When they get to work leave them to it, just potter about the house. After a while offer them a drink (water usually, a cuppa if I'm feeling generous and they seem nice). At the end of their work ask my questions.


This. IKWYM about feeling awkward but generally, if DH isn't there, I'll leave them to it. I'll also make sure I explain the situation like I understand because I hate the idea I'll be fleeced!!

#9 sāta kōrsa

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

I really don't get it.  Tradies are people, there to do a job.  I'm not sure why you're treating them like they're from another planet?  Basic courtesy, as you would extend to any other human, will be just fine.  Don't unecessarily bother them while they're trying to get on with the job and don't ignore them like they're dirt beneath your feet.  Is it really that hard?

FWIW, I don't think 'the trouble' is with the poor tradies.

#10 kpingitquiet

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

I generally offer them a drink (water, tea) 15 or so mins in and then occupy myself with dogs, kiddo, something else. I'll go back in after 30 more mins or an hour or so if it's a long visit and say something like "How's it going?" But no, it's not the most comfy experience in the world. I'm pretty territorial original.gif

#11 kpingitquiet

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE (++----++ @ 25/01/2013, 12:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really don't get it.  Tradies are people, there to do a job.  I'm not sure why you're treating them like they're from another planet?  Basic courtesy, as you would extend to any other human, will be just fine.  Don't unecessarily bother them while they're trying to get on with the job and don't ignore them like they're dirt beneath your feet.  Is it really that hard?

FWIW, I don't think 'the trouble' is with the poor tradies.

Because, in the normal course of things, most people's offices are not in our kitchens/bathrooms/etc. Homes are generally people's sanctuaries away from unknown or uncomfy situations. We're conditioned not to let strangers into our homes, and now we're paying one to come in at a fancy price! original.gif My husband is a tradie and I understand this. Not sure what's so strange about it.

#12 sāta kōrsa

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

Yeah, I suppose some people could be all awkward about someone else in their 'space', despite the fact that the tradie has been invited there.  I just don't get the 'oooh, there's a TRADIE in my house, how should I interact with this person?' attitude.

#13 Propaganda

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:06 PM

You leave them alone to do their job and only ask questions if necessary. Standing around watching them and asking questions is like when you're trying to do something and your child is following you around harassing you. It's annoying and slows the whole process down.

This is what I've been told from my tradie husband.

#14 TenOfSwords

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:06 PM

I've never had an issue, until last time. And thankfully DF was home.

Our aircon was leaking. So DF called someone to have a look at it. He came half an hour early, so DF hadn't even gotten out of bed, I'd just gotten out the shower and dressed! I answered while DF quickly put clothes on. DF took the guy round the side to show him, the guy got on the roof to have a look. DF quickly went for a shower. When DF got out and was getting dressed again, I was just standing in the bedroom putting cream on, when the guy just walks into our house (and past our bedroom, and actually LOOKED in the room), we didnt even know he needed to come inside?! Then he walks right back out a minute later, saying nothing to me.

It was so weird and I am so glad DF was home because the guy was just weird and creepy. I don't think I'd be very comfortable having tradies come over without DF being home after that. Even DF said to me he was glad he was home.

I've usually left them to do what they needed to do. Sometimes they are chatty and like the company, sometimes they like to be left alone.

Edited by RunawayPrincess, 25 January 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#15 babybeli

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

We have trades here right now installing the aircon.  They know what they are doing so we Srebrenica just doing our normal stuff.  Kids just had lunch and are now on the Xbox dh is on his computer and I'm on eb.   When my kids were younger I would have had my hands full keeping them away from there tools.  I'm of the opinion that you should leave them to get thejob done.  Most tradies I have dealt with seem to bring there own drinks and lunch.  One even made toasted sandwiches in our backyard.  I did offer him the use of the kitchen but he was happy outside.

#16 belinda1976

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

TBH I think they would just like to be left alone to get on with the job.  I would find it annoying if someone was standing watching over me, trying to make small talk when I was trying to work.

Whenever I have a tradie at my house working I always leave them alone and say to them "if you need me I'm just inside (or wherever I am), so yell out if you need me".  Of course I always make a tiny bit of small talk and offer them a drink when they arrive but after that I leave them alone.

But in saying that I still always keep an eye on them, from a distance.

#17 josh2003

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

Bloody hell... you would hate my house at the moment! I've been project managing a 16sq extension on our house, so we've had tradies here weekdays and weekends!

If they're just going to be there for an hour or two, I generally go through what I want done, offer them a coffee, and tell them to yell out if they need me. If they're going to be there for a few days, then I go and chat to them every couple of hours to see how things are going, offer them a coffee etc.

I've only had one tradie that was a bit creepy, and one of our tradie friends that was here at the same time said to me that I should try and go out when he was here because he found him creepy too!

Our chippies have become part of the family though now, and pop in to see us every now and then. They even gave us presents for Christmas!

#18 lamarque

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

I chat with tradies at my house.  Offer them a drink etc and then leave them to it.  Our plumber was reminiscing with me the other day about how my son when he was a toddler used to love to follow him out and sit in his van but not any more at almost 10 yrs .

#19 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:40 PM

QUOTE (~*Twilight~Zone*~ @ 25/01/2013, 12:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When they are outside it's okay because I can kind of ignore them but then they have to come in and out the house getting stuff from their ute etc.  What do I do then?  Play on the computer?  Do housework?  Is it rude to just sit and watch TV?


Yeah, this is part of it. When I was 36 weeks pregnant we had ceiling fans put in every room and some other electrical work done - the only room that they weren't working in was the kitchen. They were here all day and I just felt weird. Couldn't go about my normal day because they were doing things in each room, but felt weird just sitting in the kitchen on my laptop or reading a book. It's very strange.

QUOTE (Mamabug @ 25/01/2013, 12:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you were at work, would you like your client peering over your shoulder the whole time asking questions???


Sorry, I should've clarified - I don't actually stand around asking questions, I was more trying to illustrate the opposite of not engaging.

QUOTE (++----++ @ 25/01/2013, 12:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really don't get it.  Tradies are people, there to do a job.  I'm not sure why you're treating them like they're from another planet?  Basic courtesy, as you would extend to any other human, will be just fine.  Don't unecessarily bother them while they're trying to get on with the job and don't ignore them like they're dirt beneath your feet.  Is it really that hard?

FWIW, I don't think 'the trouble' is with the poor tradies.


huh.gif

Where did I say I treated them like they were from another planet? And I freely acknowledge I'm the strange one, not them. The title was meant to be lighthearted and a bit quicker to read than "I feel strangely awkward when there are tradespeople in my house"

QUOTE (++----++ @ 25/01/2013, 12:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, I suppose some people could be all awkward about someone else in their 'space', despite the fact that the tradie has been invited there.  I just don't get the 'oooh, there's a TRADIE in my house, how should I interact with this person?' attitude.


For me it's not an attitude I've consciously tried to have, it's just that I feel really odd around them in my house. Don't know why.

QUOTE (josh2003 @ 25/01/2013, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bloody hell... you would hate my house at the moment! I've been project managing a 16sq extension on our house, so we've had tradies here weekdays and weekends!


Yes, yes I would laughing2.gif

It's not even a creepiness factor because I've always had great tradies. I'm just useless with the interaction part. But I'll start pushing myself to not have DH here and follow the idea of introduction, direct to problem, leave them to it and just be around/check in every now and then.

#20 josh2003

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (HollyOllyOxenfree @ 25/01/2013, 01:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, yes I would laughing2.gif

It's not even a creepiness factor because I've always had great tradies. I'm just useless with the interaction part. But I'll start pushing myself to not have DH here and follow the idea of introduction, direct to problem, leave them to it and just be around/check in every now and then.

Yeah, I've only had one in the whole 9 months that I've felt a bit uncomfortable around, but I think it was reinforced when someone else noticed it. But generally, ours have all been great.

#21 sāta kōrsa

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

QUOTE (HollyOllyOxenfree @ 25/01/2013, 01:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
huh.gif

Where did I say I treated them like they were from another planet? And I freely acknowledge I'm the strange one, not them. The title was meant to be lighthearted and a bit quicker to read than "I feel strangely awkward when there are tradespeople in my house"

For me it's not an attitude I've consciously tried to have, it's just that I feel really odd around them in my house. Don't know why.

Lol, ok, I think I understand you a bit better.  I do feel for tradies though who are just trying to earn a living and have some people struggle to interact with them.  They're just people!

#22 *melrose*

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Ha I am a bit like that too! I always think do I just stand here and watch him, or do I go in another room, or hang washing out, I don't know what you are doing or what that means ect.

I hear you OP.

#23 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

We are tarting our house up to sell so it has been full of tradies for the last two weeks. I don't mind and just go about my business. Only issue is with DS's naps if noisy work is being done but tha can't be helped.

I like chatting to them in their breaks too- they are just like taxi drivers and very easy to talk to.

Strangly enough, I cannot stand to be home if the cleaners are there. This may be some tragic sexist throwback where women are conditioned to believe they should be doing the 'women's work' around the house. I know that I am being an idiot an academic sense but still need to leave.

#24 Toodee

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

I have my hands full trying to keep my 3 kids away from trades whenever we have one here. We had a plumber come once to install a dishwasher and DS, who was 2 at the time, kept trying to climb into the cupboard with him. The plumber was great with DS though and reckoned dealing with an inquisitive kid is much better than having to deal with adults who stand over him asking a million questions.

#25 Riotproof

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

I understand you, op. it's weird because its a stranger in your house and that's an unusual occurrence for most people. I feel awkward in what I should do, especially if I don't know if t will be a 5 min job or longer.  
It's not a problem my husband has at all, and mine would never make himself available at home just because of it (assuming I was home, of course)




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