Blue-Eyed Handyman


Ready for another funny story? 

This one happened about ten years ago, before I started Vacation Rentals of the Desert.  At the time I was managing another small vacation rental company here in the desert.  Of course vacation rental companies of any size must have a good handyman.  Someone who can climb up on a ladder to change a light bulb, repair a leaky toilet, remove a blockage from a garbage disposal, replace smoke detector batteries … small jobs that do not require professional plumbers, electricians, etc. or their higher service fees.   It is also important that a handyman work well with people.  Providing professional, polite, prompt service with a smile is essential.  This was Peter!  On top of all that … Peter was charismatic, funny, smart and very handsome, which we viewed as a huge bonus.  But was it really?

Here in the desert, the vast majority of our vacationing guests are retirees from Canada and the Northern states, with stays from one to six months.  Peter was perfect in every way!  Peter was a retiree from the aerospace industry and it was easy to see that he did not need to work … Peter liked to work.  He was well liked by our guests and instantly accepted as an equal.  He was a guy’s guy and even though I won’t say he was a lady’s man, I will tell you he was a really big hit with the women … and this is where the problems began.  It took a while, but I started to see a pattern … some of our guests liked Peter just a little too much!  It hit me one day after answering a phone call from Mary Ellen, a single lady from Canada staying with us through the winter months.  She called to say that she need “that handsome blue-eyed man” to come over right away to take a look at a sink that was draining slowly.  Hmmm … my mind flashed back to a few other service calls from Mary Ellen in recent weeks, and suddenly I put two and two together.  Did Mary Ellen have a little crush on Peter?  Wow … what to do, what to do?    After a bit of digging through work orders I started to see a pattern … and found another two possible “crushes” going on.  I spoke to Peter, and he was absolutely clueless, but he did admit to being invited for drinks and to dinners by several of our vacationing guests, both women and couples.  He politely turned down all these invitations thinking that it would not be appropriate … and I whole-heartedly agreed.  But now I had to ask Peter to tone down the “charm” and pay a little more attention to the attention he was getting.

Ultimately I was forced to have an awkward conversation with Mary Ellen and a couple of other guests about excessive service calls and the type of issues that our office staff might possibly handle instead of sending Peter.  I did not want owners being charged for frivolous issues or for an abundance of calls spread out over a period of time that could have been handled with just one service call.  I can tell you that these were very delicate conversations … I did not want to embarrass or anger the guests or lose their future business.

Mary Ellen returned to the desert for several seasons following our “conversation,” and over time we became quite close, business-wise.  Years later she told me that she had had a serious crush on Peter and in fact, had asked him to become her companion and travel with her around the world, which Peter had politely turned down.

Peter continued on with us for many years until he truly retired and moved out of the area … but while he was our handyman, I kept my blue eyes wide open!

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