around the frame jul 2019 – our experiences

Hi Frances –

I gained SO MUCH from your June 2019 story! I am itching to respond.

First of all, reading JK’s side was extremely helpful. As I read your point of view –I understood it perfectly. THEN, I read JK’s, and I understood his point of view perfectly.

To add a third voice (my own), I’d say that JK is a reasonable aware businessman and you are a gentle trusting soul who honors her commitments. A perfect team, actually. So, what went wrong?

When your handyman stormed from the house and told you he’d been insulted –he was playing the victim. He cast JK in the role of persecutor, and your job at that moment was to be his rescuer.

Your husband asked him about his idea of a fair price –and he responded. Then your JK explained that he had exceeded that fair price based on actual hours worked. It is likely that your handyman a) did not track his hours or b) charged what he felt like charging, based on his needs that day. He was entirely free to do so because there was no writ-ten contract. He was probably embarrassed when JK pointed out the facts, and scared he wouldn’t get the money he wanted, so he became defensive. And without a written contract, business is conducted based on whims and wishes. In this story the handy-man’s wishes determined the price.

You, on the other hand, were relying on an undefined social contract. You had a history with this man that proved him to be-have fairly, and you trusted him based on that history to not overcharge.

I understand this totally. I have a dog sitter, and I trust her implicitly based on our ten months of history. We do not nor have we ever had a written contract. I (to be honest) HOPED it would never be necessary –and it never has been. (Lucky me.)

Dog-sitting is a business arrangement –but I forego the written contract based on a social contract of trust. I think you did the same with your handyman.

JK saw the unfairness, and tried to correct it, but your handy-man had all the power. I appreciate JK’s willingness to confront and try to set things straight. It shows that he loves you and wants to protect you from being swindled.

But bottom line –the only legal power a buyer has is a legal document outlining the terms of work and payment. Without it, we rely on a social contract of trust. Sometimes those work out (as with my dog-sitter so far) and sometimes they do not.

When a social contract fails to meet our expectations, we have a choice. We can fight or pay up.

Confrontation has an emotional cost. It’s upsetting, and it takes a lot of energy and can be risky. JK was willing to pay that cost on your behalf. You are an honor-able woman who keeps her commitments, so you paid up.

The two of you behaved remarkably well as far as I’m concerned.

Hugs to you and JK!


Sherryl (July’18) adds, “I understand JK’s confrontational style upset you. I just hate it when my partner adopts a similar approach. The next time he does – I hope I can remember your wisdom: remove myself from the situation, talk to a trusted friend, and work through my emotions to avoid blasting my partner and damaging my most important relationship. JK can appreciate this about you –you take responsibility for your own emotions and don’t project them.”


Dear Frances,

Just finished reading my June 2019 issue of Ninepatch and enjoyed every word. 

I especially liked Gayle Bluebird’s poem, “Tulip.” I plan to reread it every spring. 

The stash of stamps from you and other Ninepatch readers was most welcome.  I almost always find unique ones to add to my collection because of your thoughtfulness. 

Niagara Fall- American side

My trip to Niagara Falls with my husband in May was wonderful!  We stayed overnight on the American side and walked across the bridge to the Canadian side and then all the way to Horseshoe Falls.  No need to drive anywhere.

After spending a day sight-seeing, we drove onward to Canandaigua, New York for a regional stamp show where I found the last stamp I wanted for my memoir.

My stamp memoir just might be finished.  It is at a stage where I can exhibit it.  Now I am inventorying the stamps in it, not because it is necessary, but just because I want to. 

Take good care.  I hope we can get together in August.  If it’s for cut and paste, so much the better!



Carol (May ‘19) adds, “I am not completely satisfied with the exhibit, but it serves its purpose: to trigger my mostly pleasant memories, and possibly as a conversation-starter.”


Dear Fritzie,

You asked about my writers’ group. We are all about the same age. Lots of the writing has to do with recollecting child-hoods and relevant turning points in our lives.  

One member is an Indian woman from Mumbai. She came to the US as a young bride when her husband pursued a PhD at Ohio State. Another is an Austrian woman who fled the Nazi regime during WWII.  Amazing stories!

Since the days when we were both single in the 1990s, I know you’ve married and live in Florida during the winter months.  I’m curious about your life now: what keeps you active and interested, your children and things in general. 

I live about twenty minutes from my son and his family with whom I spend a fair amount of time.  I bought my condo two years ago and love the coziness, easy care, essential amenities within walking distance. 

I look forward to hearing from you when you have time.

Peace and love,


Mary (Apr.’19) adds, “I’m six months past my last chemo treatment for lymphoma and recovering well. My last CT scan showed a slight increase in the size of the abdominal lymph nodes that were impacted by the cancer.  (Who knows what has caused the increase.)  My oncologist has scheduled another CT scan in three months.  I feel fine so I’m guessing it’s nothing serious.  Still once you’ve had cancer there is always that nagging wonder about its return.”


Dear Frances,

You said you don’t much like surprises. Some surprises are good and some are bad. Some I like and some I don’t.

I have the blues. Here comes another holiday with no word from my family. I know my brothers have

wives, children and grandchildren. They are busy.

Still no word from my youngest daughter or granddaughters. So very disappointing.

Life goes on.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (June ‘19) adds, “I have lots to do just keeping up with everyday life!”


Dear Frances,

You asked how we nine ladies get along living together. We all have a great time and we are truly blessed overall.

We have fun, sometimes we do “loud” (smile), but we do grace, too. We do “I’m sorry,” we do forgiveness, we do family and we do LOVE for one another.

I am indeed blessed! Blessings,


Meschelle (June’19) adds, “In many ways I feel as though I’m back home with fifteen siblings again for a while. The main differences are there’re nine here now and we are all ladies.”


Dear Frances,

I’m doing ok, I suppose. Had a bit of a scare lately –might not have been a heart attack, but sure felt like the lead up to one! It was enough to scare the heck out of me. Enough, in fact, to quit smoking! I’ve been working on that this past few weeks.

I’m just trying to take it easy and enjoy what we’re calling summer here near Niagara Falls. ? The weather’s been cool, wet, and unpredictable! I’m hoping it’ll get better in July. 

Anyways, best of luck settling in in Indiana my dear. 

Lynn D

Lynn D. (May ‘19) adds, “I have a slew of doctor appointments to try to figure out what happened to me.”

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