PMSS + DTY = One Ridiculous Situation


My least favorite thing to do when my husband is away is dealing with mechanics, contractors and repair men. I'm not a helpless little female, and I can handle a lot of minor repairs myself, but I don't know the technical ins and outs of major repair work and unless I've been referred by someone I know and trust, I'm always trying to figure out if prices I'm being quoted are reasonable, or if I'm about to be taken for a ride. All I know is something is broken and needs to be fixed. But the main reason I don't like to handle this when my husband is away is that I occasionally suffer from PMSS. Paranoid Military Spouse Syndrome.

PMSS afflicts some of us. It's that delusional state-of-mind when we think someone is out to get us. They know our spouse is away and it's a perfect time for them to take advantage of the situation. No, it's never actually happened, and isn't likely to, but when my husband leaves something odd occurs in that mass of cobwebs I call a brain. I go to extreme measures to ensure that people don't know, or even suspect, that I'm home alone. Even though I employ extreme measures, I begin to wonder if someone is following me home or is plotting to break in, kill me and steal everything we own. Or maybe they just want to make an extra buck off of me.

When I go to see a mechanic or have a repairman over, I already have my speech ready. It's the one where I plan my words with mass sprinklings of "my husband' so that they know my husband is home. Even though he's not. It's really rather silly because there never seems to be a straightforward conversation with these folks and I always get busted.

They often ask me something that I can't answer and I say I'll have to "ask my husband and get back with you." Loved the time when the air conditioner technician asked me to call my husband right then and there. My husband was in a meeting at the time. At least that was my response. Actually, he was In Afghanistan.... I'm sure it was rather obvious that either I borrowed a wedding ring and was lying about having a husband, or that my husband is away. No matter. I continued to bend over backwards touting the fact that my husband is indeed home and hoped to convey the message, "Don't even try it, buddy. He's a soldier and he'll pull out a can of whoop-ass so fast it'll make your head spin." The A/C tech was probably the nicest person in the world, but PMSS made me see him as a possible deranged killer. PMSS is an awful affliction. It truly is.

In addition to PMSS, I suffer from DTY. Not to be confused with DITY or TDY (both horrible things in their own right). No, DTY is "Don't Trust You." Not only are you likely to break in my house and cause me great bodily harm, but since you know my husband isn't around, despite my comical attempts at making sure you know he is around, you're probably going to pad the cost of the repair or service and try to take advantage of me.

What's a gal to do?

First of all, there is power in advertising. I succumbed to all of those Service Magic commercials and I've begun using them for estimates. Working out well so far. Secondly, I purchased a home warranty. Those two steps have cured my DTY because I can get as many estimates as I want and feel good about knowing that the price I settle on is fair market price for a service (renovations, landscaping, etc.), and the contractors have been screened and haven't dismembered a body and left it in the attic. With the home warranty, I don't have to worry about someone inflating a price. I'm covered no matter what happens.

As for PMSS, my husband is home, so for the time being so I'm cured. But I'm sure all sorts of ridiculousness will occur once he's gone again.....

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