Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Someone should have told me

Alright, stay-at-home moms of the world, help us maternity-leavers out, would you?

It's been eight weeks and two days since I've been on maternity leave. Yes, this means some days I don't change out of my jammies until 3 in the afternoon and it means showers happen about every other day. I don't necessarily like those two things. But it's just the way it is. Today, I did get dressed before 9 a.m., but I'm wearing a running T-shirt and shorts. And my glasses. Not sure how much that counts.

Anyway, I never realized that besides taking care of the infant there are other things with which I would be tasked during the day. Simply because I'm at home.

Number one: Answering the door.

Working full-time, I hardly ever heard our doorbell ring. That was nice, I now realize. Because the people who ring that doorbell during the day only want to bother me. Most of them want me to give them money.

A girl in her mid-teens stopped by last week with a pitch that was less than impressive. Her story was that her softball team had qualified for nationals in Orlando, Fla., but in order for her to compete she had to raise $2,000 or some ghastly amount by TOMORROW. So in return for my donation she would be of my service for an entire day. I could use her to mow the lawn (this is what most people choose, she said), but she doesn't do windows. At one point, she whipped out some pledge forms from her back pocket and handed them to me, as if they meant something. There were different levels and numbers written by them. And nothing was fully clear. This is the common theme among people who come to the door, I have learned. They want to confuse me!

Another very nice, very chatty college student came to the door recently hawking early learning books. She did not ever tell me she was selling books, however. Instead, she said she was going around to all the families in my neighborhood who had children about to start school in our district to give them early learning tips. Did I know so-and-so down the block? She'd just been to their house, she said, and they'd welcomed the tips. (Softball girl, by the way, asked me if I knew her grandfather who she said was a sheriff and lived on Orchard Street. I have never heard of Orchard Street, nor do I know her grandfather). I asked college girl if she worked for the school district. No, she said, she's an intern from Oregon. She attends Oregon State, and would I have five minutes for her to share these tips with me? Well, alright. I don't want my poor child to be at a disadvantage because I turned away the spunky blonde with a backpack from the West Coast. But then as we sat at my kitchen table, I realized: she is selling me something.

Are you trying to sell me something? I asked.

Oh, yes, she said. Books!

Me: Oh, I'm not going to buy any of your books.

And then she left. She even said she hadn't meant to be sneaky. Really, college girl? Because you seemed pretty sneaky.

Another door-bell ringer wanted to come in and clean my carpets FOR FREE! Really, no strings attached! Why would you clean my carpets for free? I asked (no one else is pulling a fast one on me!). Turns out she wanted to sell me a vacuum. But I didn't have to buy anything, she kept saying. Uh, no thanks. Just go away.

And then yesterday. It wasn't a salesman. No, it was much, much worse. It was a woman from the county assessor's office who had just a few questions about my house. Two bedrooms? she asked. No, I said confused, we have three bedrooms. She made a note on her clipboard. Two bathrooms? she asked. No, I said, we have 2 1/2 bathrooms. Another note. Finished basement? she asked. Yes, I said. Another note.

About three minutes after she left, I realized just how mad my husband was going to be at me. For telling the truth. But I don't want to pay higher property taxes either. I wish my common sense or quick-thinking skills were just a little bit quicker.

So, stay-at-home moms, I salute you for not only raising those kids but answering the door. My skills still need some polishing.


bryan said...

Oh my. I should have gotten this stuff to you sooner. Sorry.

Here's how it works, as a guy who's spent most of the last five years being home during large portions of the day: You don't answer the door unless it's UPS, FedEx, USPS or somebody you know.

Seriously. It's very, very rarely worth your time to stop what you're doing and answer it. We have an advantage of a peephole, as well as a high window or two. The sneaky home-dweller can spy out the window and see whether or not it's worth it to open the door.

For me, unless it's a member of one of the four groups mentioned above, it's never worth it.

Next time, you'll know.

Jeannine said...

I have been seriously considering a no solicitors sign. This trend seems to have gotten much more frequent around here in the last six months or so.

Anonymous said...

Haha. I like this post. Made me laugh.

Jenny said...

I agree with Bryan completely! I just don't answer the door anymore.

You know that vacuum? It works...but it's $1,300! They'll cut you a deal if you ask (I'm a sucker for a deal), but it's still not worth it.

I'm one to have windows and shades open all. the. damn. it's not uncommon to see me peeking around corners or sliding along the floor to see who's at the door! I need to break down and get a no soliciting sign, but it seems so unfriendly and unwelcoming.

Best of luck in your future door answering (or not) adventures!

Melanie said...

Well at least you missed out on the religious witnesses! er, um yeah. We got a peephole earlier this year after Leif ran into too many of these unwanted visitors. UGH. I never answer the door; I don't care if they know I'm on the other side. There's no rule saying you HAVE to open the door, right?

And in the rare instance that those people caught me on the weekend, I just tell them very firmly I don't allow strangers in my house. ever. But i'd be happy to take any brochures they have (they never do and try to pressure me on an impulse buy). HA! I scoff. You've got to be kidding me. No thank you and have a nice day good bye.