Why is it whenever someone comes to our home to do work, I fear for my life and the lives of those around me? I can’t be the only one.

I am currently sitting at the table while a young man sprays the interior and exterior for ants. He’s pleasant, we’ve discussed where he went to school, how long he’s been in the business and of course the obvious, how about them ants?

But somewhere along the way I’ve read, watched an episode of Dateline or been hypnotized into thinking these same people I have called and asked to visit my home are in actuality, serial killers, escape convicts or clean-cut, straight shooters who will choose this one humid, strangely eerie, damp day to snap and kill us all.

What do I do to calm myself? I usually start by emailing, Greg or a close friend a description of the person in my home. I try to gather as much personal information as I can about them, for example, the Culligan water guy has a cat and a daughter in University, the well guy wears steel toed boots in my house and threatens a lawsuit against me the home owner if he falls down my stairs in his mud smeared ass toboggan, never sharing any personal information and sometimes even making things up to throw them off the scent. I sit at my computer documenting their every nuance, smell, cell phone ring tone, while they think I’m revising a spreadsheet for the soccer carpool.  My finger firmly affixed to the send key, never more than a Bob’s Septic 50th anniversary commemorative pen away.

The most frightened I’ve been was when we hired someone to clean our ducts. The accused was short, bald, he removed his shoes (clearly a sticking point with me) but did have several stains on his uniform/kill suit and for some reason came across as physically threatening.

I spent four hours removing all of the glasses from my dining room hutch, polishing them, dusting light fixtures and busying myself so I would be within a few feet of where he was working in case he considered setting up one of those spy cameras in my bedroom.

That was the day Greg’s inbox runneth over with specifics on where he should begin the search for my body (if it wasn’t obvious already, start with the ducts) and his mid-meeting responses of, “WTF?”

The next thing on my to-do list is to write a description of their vehicle (especially if it’s not a company car) and always jot down the license plate. Again, I email myself, my husband or my neighbour who while not as paranoid as me, appreciates my attention to detail and through years of relaying stories of cable guys, phone company employees, hydro meter readers flying off the deep end, recognizes it only takes one.

I make some tea but am careful to never leave the pot unattended. Do you think drugs only dissolve in alcoholic beverages at the bar? Sometimes I pitch the first cup just to see if I get a reaction from the person assigned to fix my anti-tipping device, especially after he claims I don’t have one when it’s so obvious to everyone in the know that I do.

I put on a unitard under my clothes because it’s much harder to tear away. By the time they get through the first of many layers of clothing, my neighbour is already on the scene with a fire extinguisher, bathing cap to spark confusion and her yappy dog Mimi; a crime fighting team you do not want to mess with.

The ones who wear gloves certainly have the upper hand. No prints left behind and they often require the use of some chemical in their assignment, for example, the ant guy at six feet even, 22 to 28 years old, short, dark hair, slim build, claiming to have gone to University near my home but when pressed was unable to tell me where the future Costco building site was slated to be.

Greg of course wanders in at the end of the day with a cold beer for his new buddy. Within a couple of minutes he’s cut his quoted price in half and the two are laughing when they realize they both went to school with someone from Stratford or they’re related.

It’s at this point I cut some air holes in the arm pits of my unitard for both breathing and circulation purposes and tell them my real name isn’t really Chlamydia.