My Thoughts

Every homeowner needs a handy man, and Insider’s name is Kenny and he’s the old guy’s savior. Insider only knows a few phone numbers by heart and right up there in importance alongside 911 is Kenny’s home phone. Insider’s love affair with Kenny began about 30 years ago. It was then that his number was passed along to him in a pinch because the old guy happened to be out of town when a neighbor called him and told him water was streaming out the front door of his home in Ocean City. This has happened to just about every property owner in Ocean City at some point. It was in the dead of winter, of course, and it appears a water pipe had burst because the place was not properly winterized by a previous handy man. The friend who called said his brother was a jack of all trades and could take a look if the old guy wished. Considering it was an emergency, Insider told him where the spare key was and Kenny quickly went to work, turning off the water and replacing the broken pipe before the night was over. He even went so far as to take care of the standing water. Insider later got a friendly bill for five hours of work at $5 an hour.

These days Insider does not have a lot of work for Kenny and only calls when his "Kenny Do" list has at least five items on it. It now costs him $12.50 an hour for Kenny but it’s still worth it. Kenny was over this week, cleaning out and repairing the gutters, changing the air filters, replacing a window broken by a crazy bird, fixing a loose piece of decking and doing some painting. All the while the old guy sits back with his feet propped up, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Insider loves Kenny.

The old guy donated a dollar a couple years back to a charity after a former old-timer passed away, and that charity has never stopped calling and sending out mailers looking for more money. Insider has tried everything in his power to stop the correspondence to no avail. Now it all just goes into the trash. Insider likes the idea of donating to charity, but he lives on a fixed income and just can’t do it often. There are times when the moment strikes but the constant badgering and hand wringing makes the old guy think twice. Once you give, you never stop being asked. That’s what Insider gets for trying to be nice.